Shelters Deal With Bed Bug Epidemic

By: Brittany Gunter
By: Brittany Gunter

Some local shelters are dealing with "unwanted guests," bed bugs. They’re finding it hard to get rid of them for good.

The Care Corps shelter in Fremont provides a warm bed and a place to stay for the homeless, but some people sleeping there are getting more than they asked for.

A current resident told us about his experience, but asked to stay anonymous. He said, “The very first night I was there. I was bitten on my hand and I didn’t know what it was and I scratched it and turned it into a permanent scar.” He believes the cause of the itching was bed bugs.

Executive Director of the shelter, Mike Wehling, said whenever bed bugs show up they use heat remediation immediately to get rid of them, but with so many people coming in and out it can be an ongoing process.

He said they aren’t the only shelter dealing with this problem. “Really it’s been a epidemic in the last five years." An epidemic locally and nationally because the chemicals have changed and aren’t as effective. Plus, many shelters are operating with less funding, so they can’t afford things they may need to combat the problem.

Wehling said that one of the biggest issues is that they still have wood frame beds and they are in desperate need of metal frame beds. “They say the wood beds are where the breeding and harboring takes place.”

As for the current resident, he just hopes someone will give, so that the bed bugs can disappear for good. “If you can help please, no one should have to live like this, no matter what your circumstances.”

The shelter recently received a grant for $20,000 for metal beds, but they are still in need. The cost to get all new beds is $45,000.

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