Looking for a place to call home: Our work goes on, pandemic or not

When we ask our guests what they most want, the first thing is always a place to call home.

Think of it for a moment.

Most of us are sheltering in place in homes where we can make ourselves a cup of coffee, grab a snack from the fridge, and take a quick catnap. If we’re not able to work from home, if we’re on the frontlines of the pandemic, we know that at the end of the day we’ll be able to take a shower, catch a movie on Netflix, and settle in for the night in a nice warm bed.

Not so for our guests; where they’ll be laying their heads down each night is a question, a struggle. And as the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to a screeching halt the progress so many guests had been making towards finding permanent housing, it has also meant that the need to find a place to spend the night has taken on a new urgency. 

Now, more than ever, St. Francis House is here to help.

Our case managers are actively reaching out to guests and continuing to work with them, with the city of Boston and with our homeless provider partners to ensure safe beds are available each evening. And when things get back to the new normal, we’ll continue being there to help our guests secure permanent, affordable, safe housing – a place they can truly call home.

Amidst this pandemic, the St. Francis House Housing and Stabilization team has also made great effort to ensure that our residents living in our 102 units of permanent affordable housing – upstairs at 39 Boylston, and across the street at The Union – stay safe, informed, and connected to the resources and benefits available to them.

Our tenants, many who are living in their first stable place since sleeping in shelters and living on the streets, were terrified that this current health crisis would force them into homelessness once more. Our staff are working with each one of them to calm anxiety and ensure their pantries are stocked with food, medication, and toiletries. This past week, we purchased prepaid cell phones with unlimited calls and texting for those of our tenants without access to a phone. They’re now able to maintain connections, connect with providers, and avoid complete isolation.

As we focus on the short term needs that the pandemic has made more acute, our work may be different for the duration. But what remains a constant is that we’ll always be there to help our guests – and our tenants – with their housing needs.