Controversy over using New Haven high school for homeless isolation center as Mayor Elicker announces new coronavirus cases

Coronavirus

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Mayor Justin Elicker announced more positive cases of COVID-19 in the Elm City Thursday. He also addressed the new controversy over using one of New Haven’s high schools as a homeless isolation shelter for those who test positive with the virus.

RELATED: Mayor Elicker announces plan to help homeless in New Haven during coronavirus outbreak

The total positive cases in New Haven as of Thursday is seven, and two presumptive positive cases.

The new controversy Elicker is facing centers around Hill Regional Career High School and the fact that the mayor has chosen for it to serve as an isolation shelter for those who are homeless, have tested positive with the virus, and have nowhere to go to self isolate.

Elicker says it was a decision that the Board of Education was aware of, but says he has received concerns and criticism for the decision.

And Board of Ed. members tell News 8 they were not consulted.

Darnell Goldson of District 2’s Board of Ed. says his organization is “statutorily and by city charter responsible for determining what these buildings can be used for. Not the mayor, not anybody else.”

The mayor told News 8 the high school was designated as an emergency shelter yeas ago.

Goldson says it’s not about the homeless community, but that a group of people with the highly-contagious virus will be in a school and “one day students will be back in that school.”

Neighbors say they don’t want a shelter in their neighborhood already overwhelmed with social services.

You’re talking about a population that has underlying issues. Whether they are mental health issues, addiction issues, yes they need services but can we adequately provide the services they need given that one, they have tested positive with COVID-19 and have other needs?

– Latrice James/ Former Alder, Resident

Elicker says he understands residents in the community who have expressed concern that having this high school converted as an emergency isolation shelter would increase the risk to them.

But, he says, that’s not the case.

This is the site that we need to use as the emergency isolation shelter. By ensuring that people who are experiencing homelessness have a place to go to self isolate, we will be protecting the community.

– Mayor Justin Elicker/ (D) New Haven

Elicker also added that the site will have round-the-clock security detail and people who are inside would not be able to leave the facility if they are ill.

He also added medical personnel would be on staff to assist.

There is a Board of Ed. meeting scheduled for Monday. Members say they fully expect to speak to the mayor on this matter. But as of now, the school remains the site for those who test positive for the virus and have nowhere to go to self-isolate.

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