Bedbugs Disturb Sleep at Salvation Army Shelter
DailyProgress.com (Charlottesville, VA)
Friday, June 15, 2012
The Salvation Army's downtown shelter is bugged and the
charity's administrative staff is listening.
The city's primary homeless shelter is being remodeled, forcing
the charity to keep down the number of folks it takes in while it
replaces and repairs ceilings, walls, beds and mattresses in hopes
of eliminating cimex lectularius.
No one sleeps tight when the bedbugs bite. Well, technically, they
"We've tried home remedies and homeopathic remedies and we just
gave up and started having a professional exterminator come in with
the bug-sniffing dog," said Major Allen Johnson. "We've had it
treated several times and it costs between $2,000 and $8,000 when
we have to do it. That's money that we don't have in our
An infestation of the little creepers has been hard to control at
the old shelter. The bugs crawl into the wood, hide in the
mattresses and come out to feast on tired folks seeking succor from
the elements and life's hardships.
The bugs stowaway in luggage, clothes, pillows and pretty much
anything used as furniture or bedding.
"We have sort of a dormitory set-up in the shelter and the bunks
are wood and there is wood paneling and we're replacing all of
that," Major Johnson said. "The shelter is about 27 years old and
it needs remodeling and we're addressing some safety concerns, as
well, but the bugs are a major issue."
While the remodeling goes on, the shelter is limited to taking
only those in emergency situations and those who have no other
place to go. It's a necessity as the army is taking the opportunity
to address various issues such as patchwork past remodeling that
created safety issues.
"We're still taking medical patients and first-time homeless, but
we've closed the night room that's remained open for folks who want
a warm place to sleep," Major Johnson said. "It's summer, so that
should be less of a problem."
Don't think that because the Salvation Army shelter has bedbugs
that it is a dirty, skuzzy place to be. According to
Bedbugregistry.com, there are lots of hotels and motels both rank
and swank that have the issue.
The American Hotel and Lodging Association notes that the little
buggers have been nibbling on people since prehistoric times. They
were nearly eradicated in the United States after World War II but
are back due to increased international travel and weaker
Whatever the reason, they're making up for the past six decades
and Salvation Army shelters across the country are feeling the
bite. In Indiana, Florida, Iowa and other states, army facilities
are closing down and remodeling.
"We're not the only ones with a problem and we're doing our best
to correct it," Major Johnson said. "It's going to be an
inconvenience for a while, but it's going to be worth it."