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"It's the first time in my life where 'the last shall be first' actually worked."

Cameron Venti/Unsplash

Lee Stuart, CHUM's executive director, is locked down at home with COVID-19.

And yesterday, she had to send out an email saying that CHUM had had its first positive confirmed COVID-19 case in the shelter.

But when you talk with her, she's (perhaps) surprisingly upbeat.

Her team leapt unto action right away yesterday, along with St. Louis County and St. Luke's, to test and isolate everyone who was potentially exposed, according to state and county guidelines.  Folks were moved to the designated Isolation and Quarantine hotel until cleared to return to the community, a facility created by St. Louis County because people experiencing homelessness can't “self-isolate.”  And after closure for deep cleaning, the CHUM Shelter reopen on Monday.

Not only has CHUM had a plan in place since the early days of the pandemic, Stuart says it's working exactly the way it's supposed to to keep everyone safe.  "We knew this time was coming," she says.

But what perhaps they didn't know was how the state, county, city and even local businesses would step up  to help look after this vulnerable population of people ... and how maybe, there's an opening now to work on solving the problem of homelessness for good.

More information about Beacon Interfaith's Bring It Home, Minnesota effort is here.

Lisa Johnson started her broadcast career anchoring the television news at her high school and spinning country music at KWWK/KOLM Radio in Rochester, Minnesota. She was a reporter and news anchor at KTHI in Fargo, ND (not to mention the host of a children's program called "Lisa's Lane") and a radio reporter and anchor in Moorhead, Bismarck, Wahpeton and Fergus Falls.Since 1991, she has hosted Northland Morning on KUMD. One of the best parts of her job includes "paying it forward" by mentoring upcoming journalists and broadcasters on the student news team that helps produce Northland Morning. She also loves introducing the different people she meets in her job to one another, helping to forge new "community connections" and partnerships.Lisa has amassed a book collection weighing over two tons, and she enjoys reading, photography, volunteering with Animal Allies Humane Society and fantasizing about farmland. She goes to bed at 8pm, long before her daughter, two cats, or three dogs.
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