3.21.20 CwD Plans to Respond to
COVID-19 and Care for the Community
What a surreal week this has been. Two weeks ago we were planning celebrations for the opening of the CwD Community First Center on Spring Street. Instead, we are mobilizing to provide care to keep individuals experiencing homelessness safe and well in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. What a blessing to have a beautiful Community First Center to do the work we are called to do.
So many folks have asked what we need. We need your donations and we need supplies. Click the link below for ways to do both.
Since late last week, City with Dwellings has been focused on lowering the number of individuals sheltering at the Overflow Shelter sites. We have been able to settle all of our guests and close St. Timothy’s women’s shelter, and are consolidating the men into one shelter site this evening, still keeping our numbers low and allowing for appropriate spacing for shelter guests. Augsburg Lutheran Church sheltered 15-17 men through March 31st, and will remain open until April 8th, as the city, county, pubic health and shelter providers identify the best approach to keeping individuals experiencing homelessness as healthy as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are collaborating with city leaders and resource providers to create a plan to care for individuals who may need screening and individuals who test positive for COVID-19.
- We are working hard with all guests who are not staying with us anymore, doing significant diversion work to make sure our guests are settled somewhere safe. If they need to travel, we help make that happen. If they need a tent or other equipment, we are helping that, too.
- Shelter guests discharged from the hospital are high risk related to COVID-19, and cannot re-enter a shelter. Three of our guests were discharged from the hospital this week, and we have helped them settle in a hotel while they recover. We have volunteers who are supporting them during their hotel stay.
- Diversion work will soon expand to help the year-round shelters reduce their numbers This means that the other shelters can refer people to Spring St and we will work with them there.
- For those who decide to camp, we are preparing for a new model of outreach: pairing a medically-minded person with one of our street outreach staff/volunteers to check on encampment sites and share good medical practices and when to go to the hospital. We will work to reduce the concentration of people in encampments as much as possible.
- We are trying to limit volunteer roles, but if you know folks who want to help coordinate any part of this or who are medically-trained (but not likely to be called in to work at the hospitals, etc) we can possibly use them virtually or in limited on-site ways.
As we learn more information and plans materialize, we will share needs and specifics. If you or someone you know is medically trained and willing to serve, please contact email@example.com.
We are a check-in spot for people at Spring and throughout the week. In our tent next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings we will be offering the following care:
- Nurse practitioner on site to answer questions and provide counseling.
- Hygiene & COVID-19 information.
- Hand washing station.
- Mobile Showers on site.
- Two phones available for our guests to use.
- Two Chromebooks onsite.
- Staff will continue to work one-on-one helping guests find safe shelter.
- We are following CDC cleaning/sanitation protocols; we need cleaning volunteers.
We will communicate needs as they arise. Please know we are deeply grateful for our volunteers and CwD community, who are always ready to take action for our most vulnerable with love and care.
We are searching for ways to reach out and create a sense of “home” for those in our community who currently have no place to call home—all while maintaining safe social distancing. We welcome your ideas!