H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Jul 12, 2013 9:15 PM by Victoria Johnson, KSBY News

Maxine Lewis Homeless Shelter reopens

A local homeless shelter reopened Friday evening after being shut down by bed bugs earlier in the week. It's a problem that is difficult to prevent.

Clients at the Maxine Lewis Memorial Homeless Shelter in San Luis Obispo reported being bitten over the weekend.

They were sent to the medical van and medics suspected the bites were due to bed bugs but they weren't sure.

That's when Hydrex Pest Control was called and confirmed that there was, in fact, a bed bug infestation.

Clients were then referred to the Prado Day Center while the problem was resolved.

The Maxine Lewis Homeless Shelter doesn't have a way to regulate who has bed bugs and who doesn't. The only way to prevent a bed bug infestation is to check clients and their belongings when they check in.

There isn't a way to guarantee it won't happen again, other than being more restrictive.

"Which would mean that we'd have to check clients as they come in through the door every night, their persons, because you could be carrying them on your clothing in the collars of your shirt, it could be in the backpacks," says Dee Torres, CAPSLO's Homeless Services Coordinator.

She says it has been a tough few days dealing with this infestation and they plan on tightening up their measures.

The Maxine Lewis Homeless Shelter was fumigated and cleaned. It is now deemed safe to reopen.

As of Friday evening, it's back to normal at the shelter and they are now ready to welcome clients through their doors once again.

The San Luis Obispo Environmental Health Department says they have received more reports of bed bugs in hotels, motels and homeless shelters. However, they say it is not a public health concern because bed bugs don't carry diseases.

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