Weathering the Storm - COVID-19 Relief
We reached out for help roughly three and a half weeks ago knowing that as one of this communities' smaller organizations we could, with the direct support of our community partners, figure out a way to weather the storm (i.e., sanitizing hourly, staying in separate offices throughout the day, taking intakes at a distance, bringing food to cars). The first few days of COVID-19 we could only imagine what the impact on individuals and families would be. In the recent weeks, we have started to see even those that initially were able to donate, now need support from those of you that can still help. A few days ago, we learned that our Governor’s “Safer At Home” order would be extended through May. While we understand that this is something that we must take step by step, we have the immediate concern that those we have gotten to safety in the past weeks may be at risk for not having a home, meals, or additional resources during this extension. We also grapple with the reality that all those that are presenting at our doors today, tomorrow, and in the near future, are even more limited as our current monetary funds are near depletion.
What we have been able to do with your help at a glance:
-Secure shelter for homeless individuals and families. (Some fleeing domestic violence with children, some looking to isolate during the pandemic, some living at bus stops, under bridges, and under park benches, sleeping in their car, some contacting their caseworkers and other agencies looking for immediate assistance).
-Food (Outside of pantry hours, all families presenting with immediate hunger needs were given enough to sustain).
-Gas (We have managed to help those who were able get to work, keep their vehicles running if that was their selected housing option, but because of the overwhelming need for shelter we were unable to allocate as much funds as needed for gas card assistance).
-Essentials (with the recent donation from Green Bay East High School we still have a few hygiene and dry food essentials in our office---individual risk and community generosity has helped us replenish our office supplies but this will remain a continuous need).
What you should know:
-Our first option for shelter is any agencies in our community still doing intakes. Secondly, we look to call family members and friends of those in need and try to help with any food or essential that may be of concern for those couch surfing. Next, we have those where hotel stays are their only options for housing safety (those with large families currently homeless, those fleeing DV/SA during COVID-19, those with legal or mental health needs that would require one person rooms).
Right now all those, who are single, that we have in hotels around Green Bay are sharing shelter and resources with another person suffering homelessness during COVID-19.
-While clients are in hotels, they are still required to check in with their Advocates multiple times throughout the week. While COVID-19 has halted a lot of our cities movement we are, with the help of landlords and local companies, securing housing and jobs for those qualified (clients are supported through their job needs, apartment searches, emotional/mental health needs).
-It is no secret that we have a portion of our community members that suffer with alcohol and drug addiction. We have found it necessary to do urine screens and breathalyzers for those with previously identified risk. We view this as a measure of accountability especially during a time where we know AA/NA in person supports and other general sources of support are nonexistent. While drug or alcohol usage does not mean a community member does not deserve the same shelter and safety as others, we understand that reaching out to sober living and detox units are a necessary step as we not only respond to their immediate needs but remain committed to helping everyone that walks through our doors in crisis holistically heal.
-We have spent a significant amount of time talking to both state elected officials as well as city officials about what we as well as our clients are experiencing through this time. While we are all working hour by hour to respond to needs as they arise we must reach out to those of you who can help while we await more federal and state relief.
As we continue to weather the storm this is what we need from you:
-Food and Essentials
-Continued prayer, support, and positive energy.