Nothing gives our staff more hope than the support we have seen from the dedicated community that wraps itself around St. Francis House during times of uncertainty.
As we address the challenges posed by the Coronavirus strain COVID-19, we are working to keep St. Francis House a welcoming space of refuge for the homeless individuals we serve. We take the spread of respiratory diseases within our population very seriously, and the health and safety of our guests, tenants, staff, and volunteers is our top priority.
These emergency measures continue to have a significant impact on our budget. To help us manage this unprecedented situation, we have established a COVID-19 Fund. If you wish to support these efforts, please know you are helping St. Francis House do everything possible to keep our guests and tenants safe: Click here to make a gift to SFH COVID-19 Emergency Fund
As we are anticipating long term effects from this pandemic, any funds raised in excess of our immediate COVID-19 needs will be utilized to support the adaptation of our program operations to remain open and accessible to our guests.
Over the past 35 years, we have become the largest day shelter in the Commonwealth offering the most accessible essential services available to over 500 individuals a day — all under one roof. As we begin to welcome back staff members who have been off-site since March and re-engage guests in improved programming, we’re continuing to adapt while taking every precaution.
In addition to distributing clean face masks every day at the front door and ensuring hand sanitizer is readily available, we’ve installed plexiglass dividers, distance-markers, and signs in English and Spanish on the floors and walls. Other changes to our everyday model include:
- An outside cleaning service adds another layer of daily deep cleaning in our building, with a special focus on high-touch areas, in addition to increased sanitization by our facilities during the day.
- Placing HEPA filters in every classroom and office and installing a permanent hand-washing station in the lobby.
- Implementing a safer, more accessible meal program. Not only are cold grab-and-go items available all day, but hot meals are now served in takeaway containers. Guests can bring food to another space, outside under a shady tree, or take it to-go.
- Supporting program staff to connect and find alternative ways to meet the needs of our guests however we can, such as online, over the phone, and even outdoors.
- Every office has been reconfigured to maximize space, and we have reorganized congregate spaces throughout the shelter to create a smoother and safer flow of traffic.
- Protecting the residents of our affordable supportive housing units with PPE, best practices training, and food and medication delivery if needed.
- For the safety of our staff and guests, we have temporarily suspended all clothing donations until further notice at St Francis House. There are few exceptions, including our Amazon Wishlist and prearranged new PPE supplies. To arrange a donation, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Long before COVID-19 created a crisis like never experienced before, we knew changes to our 100-year old building were inevitable. We now envision a renovation that allows for social distancing, an immediate sense of healing for our guests, and increased engagement between guests and staff from our life-changing programs.
Although our practice may evolve, our commitment and compassion will always endure, fueled by your steadfast belief in the resiliency of our guests.
Thank you for your continued support of St. Francis House.