Bed bugs back again at SLO homeless shelter
September 4, 2013
Bed bugs have again returned to the Maxine Lewis Memorial Homeless Shelter, forcing the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo (CAPSLO) to close part of the facility.
A dog trained to sniff bed bugs found an adult bug and several eggs in a 22-bed dormitory for men Monday afternoon. CAPSLO staff sealed off the dormitory, but kept the rest of the shelter open.
The partial closure marks the third time in the past two months CAPSLO has had to deny homeless individuals beds due to bed bug infestations.
CAPSLO officials have claimed they first learned of the bed bug problem on July 8 and that the insects did not pose health risks. But homeless services staff quarantined a man in June who contracted MRSA, a severe staphylococcus infection, from bed bug bites inside the shelter.
Since then, bed bugs have bitten numerous other CAPSLO clients, have spread to the Prado Day Center and have caused another client to contract MRSA.
During the two previous shelter closures, CAPSLO allowed clients on case management and those who had spent fewer than 30 nights in the shelter to sleep at the day center. Homeless services staff did not allow other homeless individuals to enter a lottery for sleeping space at the day center, nor did they allow clients to come for dinner only, known as “dining and dashing.”
During the partial closure, CAPSLO staff plans to allow case management clients and those who have spent fewer than 30 nights in the shelter to sleep in the remaining 28 beds. Others may be able to sleep on cots or the dining room floor.
CAPSLO plans to have a pest control company treat the shelter with heat this week to rid the bed bugs.
During the first closure, CAPSLO used bug spray to eliminate the critters. But, clients reported finding more bed bugs the night the shelter reopened. CAPSLO tented the shelter for fumigation and used heat treatment during the second closure.