During this challenging time related to the COVID-19 pandemic, CARITAS is more committed than ever to providing compassion and support to our most vulnerable community members. We want to inform you of the precautions CARITAS is taking amid the pandemic facing our community as well as share updates about our programs and procedures.
The safety of our clients, staff, volunteers and visitors is our highest priority. We take our role very seriously as we care for a vulnerable group of people within various communal settings. We are working closely with our various partners to establish and maintain protocols for COVID-19. We are following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
Please continue to read this update with news, information, and ways to engage. We will update this page regularly throughout the pandemic.
Positive Updates at CARITAS
We are pleased to share some of the following positive news related to our mission and programs at CARITAS:
- CARITAS is working! Some staff are working remotely or at different program locations at this time. Please use staff cell phone numbers if available and be patient with delays in phone message and email response times.
- The Healing Place for Men and men’s shelter remain open, with limitations. More details are below.
- Our women’s shelter guests are being housed. Our staff members are providing 24/7 coverage of our guests.
- We are accepting gift card donations to help with meals across our programs. Click here for volunteer opportunities.
- CARITAS Center construction is still underway and we will begin to open soon.
- CARITAS has had no reduction in force.
Precautions at CARITAS
While our classrooms, restrooms, living spaces and offices have always been cleaned regularly, we are taking the following additional steps to ensure clients, staff, volunteers and visitors remain safe:
- Increasing the number of hand-sanitizing stations.
- Escalating cleaning procedures using CDC-approved disinfectants multiple times each day in high-touch areas such as restrooms, door handles, telephones and eating surfaces.
- Displaying CDC hand-washing guidelines in our restrooms and ensuring our employees have the information and resources they need to stay healthy.
- All onsite program staff are wearing protective equipment such as disposable gloves.
- Allowing telecommuting for employees not required to work on-site.
- Eliminating all large in-person meetings for our board and staff.
- Offering increased pay to our front-line employees who are facing unprecedented risks and long days.
- Adjusting PTO to accommodate any staff who require additional sick time.
Programmatic Adjustments at CARITAS
We are working to adjust our programmatic procedures as well. Some other program adjustments include:
- The Healing Place for Men and Men’s Shelter has begun accepting new intakes on limited basis.
- All on-site volunteering is by appointment only.
- We continue to support the clients of our essential community partners with limited shopping.
- Monitoring the temperatures of all essential staff and incoming residents.
- Testing residents with the help of Daily Planet Health Services, which has extended its hours. If a resident tests positive for COVID-19, the participant will go to a hotel for monitoring.
- Limiting in-person recovery group gatherings in our programs to residents only and participating in all other groups virtually.
- Adjusting sleeping arrangements in the residential recovery program.
- Offering the Family Education Program online via Zoom. Learn more.
Ways You Can Help
- People experiencing homelessness are encouraged to call the Homeless Crisis Line at 804-972-0813.
- If you are able, please consider making a financial donation to CARITAS during this critical time. You can support our work here.
- We are in need of gift cards for meals. Please learn more on our volunteer page.
Thank you for your support and confidence as we navigate this unprecedented landscape. We know this is a rapidly evolving situation, so we will continue to make prudent and necessary updates to our programs to safeguard the welfare of our clients, the community, and the entire CARITAS family.