SALT LAKE CITY — The American Cancer Society announced it will provide free housing to University of Utah health care workers in the Hope Lodge, a cancer treatment center located in downtown Salt Lake City. ACS closed operations at the patient housing center in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, along with 30 other Hope Lodge locations across the country.
The space is available to health care workers who are worried about returning home to their families in between shifts because of extra precautions in terms of the virus. For those who want to maintain physical distancing to keep family members safe, the lodge is open to workers to rest between shifts and stay for a prolonged period of time.
“We are honored to support University of Utah Health and Huntsman Cancer Institute who are caring for our community during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cidne Christensen, American Cancer Society community development director, in a statement. “The healthcare workers are making tremendous personal sacrifices and providing them with this home away from home will offer comfort and a place rest, just as it does for cancer patients and caregivers.”
There are 40 private rooms available in the lodge, each with a private bathroom and access to a communal kitchen and laundry space.
“This generous gift from the American Cancer Society will provide peace of mind to our cancer care and other health professionals who will have this housing resource available to them,” said Mary Beckerle, PhD, Huntsman Cancer Institute chief executive officer, said in a statement. “As HCI works to keep our cancer patients and staff safe during COVID-19, we are heartened by the generous support of the American Cancer Society and this incredible community that is banding together to keep patients and health care professionals safe during COVID-19.”
The ACS also launched a Hope Lodge COVID-19 Response Fund to provide the necessary resources to reopen its doors to cancer patients when the pandemic subsides. Until then, the fund will help keep the lodge afloat by repurposing its operations to housing health care workers.