More than 60 beds at Faith Mission in downtown Wichita Falls could be affected with bed bugs. Wednesday night, the mission staff discovered one out of four dorm areas at the facility had bed bugs.
"For several days a lot of us have been getting bitten," said Jeffery Baker, who had been staying at the mission since last year. He told Newschannel 6 he came to the homeless shelter after he lost his job and fell on hard times. Now, he along with many others that had been staying there have no place to lay their heads. "A lot of us are going to sleep out here on the concrete, because we have no other place to go," said Baker. He was sleeping in one of the shelter's main dorm areas consisting of 64 beds.
Newschannel 6 was there this afternoon as clients of the mission came to get their belongings out of lockers. Throughout the day a crew of about 15 people began a massive and tedious cleanup.
Bags of linen lined a hallway, mattresses were leaned against faucets in the dorm shower room, as wood and screws of once standing beds were scattered and dismantled throughout the dorm area.
Steve Sparks, Executive Director at the mission said he won't let the work ahead overshadow their purpose. "It's a lot of hard work, but that's not the part that bothers me the most. It's the fact that our clients, some of them, don't have a place to go," said Sparks. "And we just can't provide a place for them and that's what we're here for."
Officials at the mission told Newschannel 6 they began taking down beds at 5 a.m. and said it takes crews 2 hours to dismantle each bed. "Then we'll treat these pieces and the room one time every seven days for the next three weeks," said Sparks. He said the entire process will take about 24 days to complete.
Sparks along with others are hoping they can find away to prevent this from happening in the future. "When they come in they may be attached to their shoe or in their hair. It's so difficult to make sure no bed bugs get past, but we'll work as diligently as we can to make sure we don't open ourselves up to it," said Sparks.
"Maybe have pajamas available so we don't have to take our clothing into the dorms," said Baker.
Throughout the cleaning process, the mission will still serve three meals a day, its clothing distribution will still be open and case managers will still meet with their clients. However, its main dorm areas will be out of operation throughout the month of September. Their goal is to reopen at the beginning of October.