AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Hampshire College and the town of Amherst are offering available space in a residence hall on campus to house individuals who are homeless during these unprecedented times.

In an email to 22News, Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman and Hampshire College President Ed Wingenbach said the available space being offered are currently empty and not being used by students. They will be available to house individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, are not sick enough to be hospitalized, and are told to go home to self-isolate but have no home to go to.

Bockelman explained that returning to the streets would put them at risk for developing complications, and widen the spread of the disease among other homeless individuals and the public at-large.

This is an extraordinary offer by the College and President Wingenbach. People experiencing homelessness are the most vulnerable population suffering during this pandemic and Hampshire has stepped-up to help those most at-risk.

Amherst Town Manager, Paul Bockelman

Hampshire President Wingenbach added, “Quite simply, this is the right thing to do. There is no question that Hampshire College has been hit hard during this crisis, as have all colleges and universities. But we felt it was our obligation to the community – our home – to help with whatever resources we have at our disposal.”

The town said offering available rooms will save people’s lives, help minimize the community spread of the virus, and assist with planning for a surge of patients requiring hospitalization. The college will also provide three meals a day to the residents living at the residence hall.