The Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded $5 million to the state of Indiana that will be used to establish a center in Indianapolis where homeless individuals who test positive for COVID-19 can be quarantined.
State officials announced the grant during a press conference Tuesday afternoon, but few details were immediately available.
The homelessness population is considered vulnerable to the coronavirus because individuals are in close proximity to one another in shelters and are more likely to have existing health conditions.
“A general spread of COVID-19 in this population quickly becomes a public health emergency and an additional burden on our health care system,” said Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Secretary Jennifer Sullivan.
Sullivan said during Tuesday’s press conference that organizers have secured a location to quarantine those experiencing homelessness. Hospitals, select clinics and the Marion County Public Health Department will be able to refer individuals to the facility.
The exact location of the center is not being disclosed.
Eskenazi Health employees will staff the center and the Indiana National Guard will provide security for it.
Sullivan said the center plans to begin accepting individuals within the next few days. The capacity of the center was not disclosed.
State officials say they hope to replicate the model across the state.
“That’s how we’re going to be able to help the homeless throughout the state of Indiana,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said.
The Lilly Endowment said it approved the grant Tuesday to “be used at the discretion of state leaders to respond quickly to emerging needs resulting from the COVID-19 virus throughout the state.”