Bellarmine Prep opens its doors to help Tacoma men’s shelter

TACOMA, Wash. — A private Tacoma high school is making a huge move to help protect people especially vulnerable to the coronavirus.

Tacoma Rescue Mission announced Tuesday that it partnered up with Bellarmine Prep to accommodate social distancing for men at its shelter.

The shelter was designed to hold about 60 men, but over the past two decades, it has made space to help as many as 200 men a night.

However, the shelter said it has been impossible to keep the 6-feet of social distancing without turning men away.

Bellarmine Prep stepped forward and offered its gym to help with the crowded conditions at the shelter.

“I have been deeply concerned for our guests with the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. We are grateful to have Bellarmine step forward to help care for community members in need during this uncertain time, by helping us improve social distancing in our men’s shelter. This is an immense blessing,” said Tacoma Rescue Mission Executive Director Duke Paulson.

On Tuesday, 50 men who were identified as at, risk due to age and underlying health conditions were taken to Bellarmine, which the shelter said would allow for better social distancing.

The Mission will provide transportation for guests to and from their men’s shelter, necessary supplies, and two staff to oversee the shelter and sanitize the facility each morning.

Shelter officials said this is temporary and intended to remain in place while the school is shut down.

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