Concordia University to provide housing for first responders, health care workers

Concordia University Texas
Concordia University Texas in Northwest Austin is opening its campus to provide free housing to first responders and health care workers throughout the pandemic. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)

Concordia University Texas in Northwest Austin is opening its campus to provide free housing to first responders and health care workers throughout the pandemic. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)

As confirmed coronavirus cases continue to trend upward in Austin, Concordia University Texas in Northwest Austin is opening its campus to provide free housing to first responders and health care workers throughout the pandemic.

The university is set to offer two residence halls for uniformed front-line health care workers and first responders, totaling more than 120 beds, according to an April 20 news release from Concordia.

“This aligns with our mission and aligns with our values ... to open up our community to a community of heroes serving others,” said Kristin Coulter, vice president of Strategic Partnerships at Concordia.

Concordia has already partnered with the Austin EMS Association, the collective bargaining union that represents the medics of Austin Travis County EMS, Coulter said. Beginning April 27, first responders and other front-line personnel from the organization will be able to move into Concordia’s short-term housing.

Currently, the university is working with local and state health care organizations, as well as regional health care providers, to set up memorandums of understanding. Coulter said Concordia’s goal is to provide short-term housing for any Austin-area health care worker who may regularly come into contact with the coronavirus.

“We’ve left it open to any first responders or front-line health care workers,” Coulter said. “We really hope to let any nurse or technician or firefighter know these units are open to them.”

The idea behind the move is to provide health care workers and emergency personnel spaces to isolate themselves during the pandemic, Coulter said. The university had heard through its nursing program there were emergency response medics who were concerned with infecting immunocompromised or elderly people they lived with.

“Having any exposure with those family members made it very worrisome with that group,” Coulter said.

Some remaining students on campus are currently occupying the residence halls, Coulter told Community Impact Newspaper. Once the students leave, the residences will become available April 27. Coulter said the university expects to step up its cleaning procedures ahead of medical personnel moving in, and staff will clean the living spaces “more frequently than average” when the personnel have moved in.

Health care workers and first responders may reserve a room at
By Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the editor for the Northwest Austin edition.


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