File Photo HRDC

The HRDC building in downtown Bozeman.

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The Human Resource Development Council is closing its shelters for people experiencing homelessness in Bozeman and Livingston to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The nonprofit announced Wednesday that the two warming centers are closed. The closure comes about two weeks ahead of its anticipated closure for the season, which would have been March 31.

In its release, the organization said the Bozeman location is offering limited services during the day to give people outdoor gear, showers, restrooms and wellness checks. The Livingston warming center is working with businesses to help shelter guests in other locations and will provide appropriate gear as needed, the release said.

Heather Grenier, president of the nonprofit, said the decision to close its doors comes at the recommendation of the organization’s advisory council and at a difficult time for those without shelter.

The concern stems from the warming center’s inability to space sleeping bunks in line with Center for Disease Control recommendations. There is also concern with the number of guests who are included in the high-risk population.

Grenier said the nonprofit is exploring alternative shelter solutions with partners.

“We have the health and safety of everyone in mind and intend to serve our community in the safest way possible,” she said.

Grenier said the nonprofit is working on ways to minimize the spread of the virus while ensuring the needs of its customers are met. She said the organization has made adjustments to its programs and services to continue to meet those needs and respond to surfacing needs.

On Tuesday, HRDC announced its food banks would move to a drive-thru model with pre-packed food boxes. The hours of operation will be as follows:

- Gallatin Valley Food Bank: Monday to Friday, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

- Belgrade distribution will operate out of a truck: Monday, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

- Big Sky Community Food Bank: Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Wednesdays and Fridays, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

-Headwaters Area Food Bank will move to pre-packed food boxes. The website said, “at this time, our food banks will not be able to accommodate substitutions. Senior groceries will still be available for pick-up or delivery.”

All lobbies will be closed to the public.

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Freddy Monares can be reached at fmonares@dailychronicle.com or at 406-582-2630.

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