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Maintaining safety in homeless shelters

Posted at 6:09 PM, Aug 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-09 19:32:22-04

Unfortunate situations can happen at homeless shelters, so staff at the Stephen Center say they are constantly working to make safety a priority.

The tragic situation yesterday at the Siena Francis House is weighing heavy on staff at the Stephen Center.

"What happened at Siena is a fresh reminder, we need these reminders sometimes because no day is guaranteed for anybody," said Michael Murphy.

"We don't always know that something might not happen," said Murphy.

Stephen Center's Michael Murphy says it's a reminder that maintaining safety for residents as well as staff is a priority.

"The fact that we need to have a secure card swiper at every door shows you that the nature of what we are doing can be dangerous," said Murphy.

The building is fully secured.

"We have over 70 cameras on campus inside and out, so even when crimes happen around the area we work with law enforcement to help them get footage of that," said Murphy.

Next, they protect those inside the building by searching clients coming in.

"When you go through the intake process at the Stephen Center you are going to get breathalyzed and take a urinary analysis," said Murphy.

"First step to security and safety is truly having that sobriety requirement," said Murphy.

Murphy says ensuring residents are in the right state of mind is one of the most effective ways to keep a safe environment.

"There's a high level of mental health in more than 50 percent of clients that come through our doors," said Murphy.

The goal is to help everyone who comes in get back on their feet safely.

"From the point someone walks in our door we are consistently evaluating their state of mind," said Murphy.

"What we can do to get them leveled out, what we can do to make sure we are providing safety to that client and everyone around them," said Murphy.