It’s hard enough for those of us who own homes, and lead stable lives, to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
But what about our vulnerable neighbors, like the homeless and those in supportive housing?
Fortunately, Homes with Hope helps.
Quietly, quickly and efficiently, the local non-profit has adapted to the crisis. Recognizing the urgent need to keep residents — plus staff and volunteers — safe, they’ve adjusted all their programs.
It’s not easy. But — following the recommendations of the CDC, state of Connecticut and local health officials — they’ve made big changes.
President and CEO Helen McAlinden — in just her fourth month on the job — reports that all residents have been moved from the 3 shelters (Gillespie Center, Hoskins Place and Project Return) to a local hotel. That provides enough space to practice social distancing.
Program directors and case management staff have relocated to the hotel too. They’re assisting clients 24/7.
Effective this Monday (April 13), the community kitchen volunteer program is suspended. However, Homes with Hope still serves people in need (12 to 1 p.m., and 5 to 6 p.m.). Meals for all community kitchen guests and Gillespie residents will be ordered from local restaurants. That protects community members — and supports local restaurants. Click here, then scroll down for details.
The food pantry will remain open on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, from 1 to 4 p.m., to address the needs of the food insecure. However, a new contact-less drop-off and pick-up procedure has been implemented (click here, then scroll down for details).
In addition, McAlinden reports that Homes with Hope’s supportive housing residents (spread throughout Westport, at several sites) are doing well. Case managers are in daily contact, and staff members drop off non-perishable items as needed.
Finally, school lunches continue to be delivered to children in Homes with Hope’s program.
“These changes will help ensure the safety of our entire community,” McAlinden says.
“However, they require extra resources that we will struggle to obtain. Your support to get us through this time is a tremendous help.”
There are two ways to give: through an online donation (click here), and by donating non-perishable food, cleaning supplies and paper goods. Click here for a list of items needed, and the contactless drop-off directions.
“As always, we appreciate your support,” McAlinden says. “Please stay healthy and safe!”