UPDATED: April 27, 2020
Thank you all for your amazing support and our apologies that we’ve not been in touch more frequently. The past seven weeks have been a whirlwind of changing guidelines, news, and needs to meet. At the same time we’ve seen a tremendous outpouring of kindness. So many people have donated food, new clothing, gift cards, and more to ensure that both guests in shelter and housing have everything they need. As you’ll see in some of the pictures below on our Facebook page there is love everywhere.
Temperature checks are being conducted at all shelters twice a day. We are emphasizing social distancing and encouraging guests to stay in. Many of our shelter guests in both Fairfax County and Arlington County have been temporarily transferred to hotels during this crisis. Older homeless guests and people with conditions such as respiratory problems or diabetes have been given priority for the hotels to allow them to safely isolate themselves. Several hotel rooms have also been reserved for homeless adults who either test positive or have been in contact with someone else who tested positive to they can quarantine safely.
There were 2 confirmed positive cases of coronavirus in South County among our unsheltered homeless guests in early April. They had both been in our hypothermia prevention programs only weeks before their testing. Thankfully they were both able to receive medical treatment and were placed in isolation in a hotel. We are relieved that we have had no new cases at our shelters since then. We’re finally at a place where we have enough masks for everyone and have an ample supply of hand sanitizer.
Because some local community drop-in centers for unsheltered homeless adults have closed, both the Kennedy Shelter and Bailey’s Shelter have implemented daytime drop-in programs 4 days a week. On these days, a limited number of guests are able to come in for an hour at a time and talk to case managers, get referrals, take showers, do laundry, and get a bag lunch.
I’m happy to share that we’ve been hiring! In the past few weeks, we’ve hired 5 case managers to directly serve our clients and more than a dozen other frontline shelter workers. Many good people are still being called to a life of serving others and I’m grateful that they find their way to New Hope Housing!
There are many ways to volunteer as you can see on our Volunteer Page and we’re adding new virtual activities regularly including hosting a virtual game night for shelter guests, and soon additional workshops, and one-on-one coaching & mentoring. We hope you can join us.
UPDATED March 31, 2020
What do the new “stay-at-home” orders mean for New Hope Housing?
The Virginia Governor’s Executive Order Number 55 – “Temporary Stay At Home Order Due to Novel Coronavirus” explicitly mention services to “protect the health, safety, and well-being of Virginians experiencing homelessness during this pandemic.” All of New Hope Housing’s shelter and housing facilities will remain open and we will share this order with all guests and residents to help them be compliant with the order. Staff that live in other states or the District of Columbia have received letters from our management team to have with them should they be stopped on their way to and from work.
The mission continues. Thank you all for your continued support!
UPDATED March 24, 2020
Thank you all for continuing to support New Hope Housing and shelter guests. Everything seems to be changing around us every day but there’s one constant – and that’s you. Your concern and compassion for your homeless neighbors continues. We are grateful for you.
Many of your purchased gifts from our online Wish List have begun to arrive and we’re delivering new underclothing and cleaning supplies to shelters all week.
Thank you for all the calls and emails you’ve made about wanting to help. As of this week, we are now requiring that volunteers and donors do not enter shelters. We are working to minimize the number of people that exit and enter each program as we try our best to achieve social distancing. There are tables set up outside each site (or inside the outer doors) to receive donations.
Visit our Amazon wishlist (http://a.co/ce6ElxS) for an up-to-date list of needs. Gift cards are also a great way to give. Cards to grocery stores, Walmart, Target, or Amazon are especially helpful as we work to meet the needs of our guests. If items are out of stock online but you have access to them at your local stores, please consider making a purchase and dropping off at one of our locations. Contact Sami Smyth at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about donations.
As always: please stay home if you are feeling sick or ill. Your safety and the safety of other volunteers, guests, and staff are our top concern. Following CDC guidance will help all of us.
UPDATED March 17, 2020
Thank you all for your support of New Hope Housing. Volunteers are critical in working to end homelessness in our community. We are grateful to you for your support. There are still ways to volunteer at this time but we wish to keep you updated on changes in policy.
As you know, the COVID-19 situation is extremely fluid and changes on a daily basis. At New Hope Housing, we’ve been monitoring the spread and have been taking precautions. Because of the nature of our work, our shelters and housing programs will remain open so that we can continue to serve all our homeless neighbors.
We still need your support but we request that shelter volunteers refrain from coming in the buildings through the end of March and follow CDC guidance. We are also changing how donations are accepted through the end of March. The following changes have been implemented:
- Upcoming volunteer orientations will be rescheduled (we hope to offer online orientations soon!)
- All tours of our facilities are postponed
- We will be accepting certain donations in bins or on tables located at the front of our shelters. Our current needs are:
- New men’s and women’s underwear (we have lots of socks!)
- Cleaning products (bleach, Lysol, paper towels, etc.)
- New t-shirts (undershirts)
- Entertainment (coloring books, DVDs, games, etc.)
- Food donations can be dropped off in designated coolers at our shelters
- Kennedy Shelter: At the back door
- Bailey’s Shelter and Supportive Housing: At the front door
- Residential Program Center: At the front door
- Mondloch House: On the porch by the front door
Please stay home if you are feeling sick or ill. Your safety and the safety of other volunteers, guests, and staff are our top concern. Following CDC guidance will help all of us.
Looking for more ways to give? Please visit our Amazon wishlist (http://a.co/ce6ElxS) for an up-to-date list of needs. Gift cards are also a great way to give! Cards to grocery stores, Walmart, Target, or Amazon are especially helpful as we work to meet the needs of our guests.
Many localities have set up webpages with updated information. Fairfax County has created a webpage that includes updated information and community resources at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/covid19. You can also view the emergency blog, and stay in touch using the County’s social media platforms and through text messaging (Text FFXCOVID to 888777 to receive updates). Arlington County’s webpage of resources can be found here: https://health.arlingtonva.us/covid-19-coronavirus-updates/.
We will continually be reevaluating our policies and procedures for the health and safety of our guests, staff, and you. We’re so grateful for your patience and understanding during this time.
For questions about volunteering or food donations, please contact Sami directly at email@example.com or 703-799-2293 ext. 11.