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.
- Community partners such as FeedMore are providing food for our program participants. Those meals would typically be provided by volunteer groups, who are currently not allowed to visit onsite. We are also using gift cards to purchase supplies for meals.
- CARITAS Center construction is still underway and we will begin to open later this summer.
- CARITAS anticipates no reduction in force. We are, however, increasing pay for front-line staff and we are allowing employees to use additional sick days because they cannot safely work. You may donate here.
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 will begin accepting new intakes as of May 22. Will will still enforce property restrictions at 700 Dinwiddie Avenue.
- All on-site volunteering is suspended.
- Reducing Furniture Bank donation hours 8 to 2 p.m, Monday-Friday. They will be extended to 4 p.m. (3 p.m. for Fridays) starting June 1 when we will also start pick-ups again, though only picking up items that the donor agrees to place outside of his or her home.
- 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.
CARITAS is a member of Greater Richmond Continuum of Care (GRCoC). Together, the GRCoC is connecting individuals who are unhoused to emergency shelter, emergency shelter alternatives, and accessible health care.
- People experiencing homelessness are encouraged to call the Homeless Crisis Line at 804-972-0813.
- People in recovery are in need of community more than ever. At The Healing Place, we have closed our on-site community meetings to residents only. However, this Google Document shares a list of resources compiled by VCU.
- The Centers for Disease Control has recommendations for keeping yourself safe as well as those around you. Please learn more on the CDC website. Download and read this helpful quick reference guide in PDF format.
Ways You Can Help
- 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 meals for women in shelter. Please sign up to purchase gift cards and disposable plates and utensils using this Sign Up Link.
- We need fabric face masks as we run out of disposable masks. Please make no-contact drop offs outside The Healing Place at 700 Dinwiddie Avenue, near the mailbox in the parking lot. Our staff will keep an eye out for donations to receive them immediately!
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.