H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Jul 15, 2013 7:38 PM by Keli Moore, KSBY News

Bedbugs are back at SLO shelter

Once again, bed bugs have moved into the Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter in San Luis Obispo.

The shelter reopened on Friday after an infestation of bed bugs, but come Saturday, people who stay there say they were once again bitten. The shelter closed on Sunday.

"It itches, they swell and a few of us have gotten infections," said Jeffery Stone, who has been staying at the shelter for the last few weeks. He said bed bugs took their toll on his body.

"I think they have been there for quite some time," he said.

After the second spotting of bed bugs in the last week, he and many others have been sleeping across town.

"We are back at Prado again," said Stone.

Prado Day Center does not have overnight facilities, so they have to get creative with the space.

"We are sleeping on the floor and sleeping outside," said Stone.

The Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo, or CAPSLO, is brain-storming more aggressive ways to get rid of the wingless pests.

"A more aggressive approach would be to tent the entire shelter, and a high heat treatment on the shelter," said Dee Torres, homeless services coordinator for CAPSLO.

According to Scientific America, bed bugs are found everywhere from five star hotels to shelters. What it comes down to are expensive treatments to get rid of the pests.

"It's an absolute financial burden," said Torres.

Torres said the shelter is lucky because over the last 20 years bedbugs have not been a problem, but these tiny bugs travel on almost anything.

So how will Prado Day Center keep them out?

CAPSLO is also brain-storming ways to keep the bedbugs out of the day center. However, as soon as Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter reopens, Prado will be tented as well.

The Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter hopes to re-open by the end of the week.

Bedbugs feed on blood, but do not carry diseases.

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