Supporting the homeless
by Irit Umani, Austin, TX
What do you do when distancing is the healthiest practice of the day and your whole life has been about connectedness?
What do you do when you serve and feed the poorest of the poor, your neighbors who are homeless, and the gathering hall is now closed, the doors shut?
Who are you when your life has been about community, and you are called to isolate?
On the extreme other side of it, what say you when you bought into the belief that each person can “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps,” when our impact on each other is made undeniably clear, even a matter of life and death?
Trinity Center, of which I am the Director, is a day center in downtown Austin for people who are homeless. At 9:00 AM, we open the doors. We serve breakfast and a light lunch; we offer individual case management, mail delivery, access to free phones and computers, and more. But our main value is beyond the particular services we offer. Our main value is to provide a sense of belonging to a community of respect, dignity and deep compassion. We honor and accept people who are harshly judged and little understood. We, as the prophet Micah suggested to us, “do justly, love mercy and walk humbly,” to the best of our human ability.
Our main hall has tables for six, and up to 70 people, at any given time, share the space. No “six foot distance” is possible whatsoever. No amount of disinfecting solution can keep the center from being a perfect incubator for nasty viruses.
So, this last Friday, the Board of Directors, in an emergency meeting with staff, made the decision to completely alter our operation, shutting down much of it. We WILL prepare breakfast, pack it in take-away boxes and serve it outside. We are the mailing address for over 1,800(!) people. Have you ever thought about where people who live on pavements get their mail, including their monthly benefit checks for things like Disability or Social Security? We can’t close that. So folks are welcome to knock on the door and receive their mail. If possible, some limited case management will continue by phone. We will catch up on any and all backlogs of admin work, that’s for sure (weird silver lining, indeed)!
We will pray and love and care as deeply as we were able to before this crisis. We will be grateful for our plenty, even more so than before. Our commitment to serve well will continue to grow, even as we will experience frustration for our current inability to serve the way we have for over twenty years. We will actively call on our City and State’s decision-makers to include the community of people who are homeless in their emergency plans.
And when this crisis is over, our resolve to shed light in places of darkness, to serve well, and to love deeply will be stronger, and our understanding of the global inter-connectedness of all will never be as clearly proven.
Extra precautions in a nursing home
by Shari R, Shoreline, WA
I work at a skilled nursing home/rehab center in Everett as an occupational therapist. Thankfully, we’ve had no infections so far in my building, though many of us have been feeling anxious, worried about possible risk to our patients and ourselves. Tensions seem to be fluctuating more widely than usual. One nurse was having a tough time yesterday because one of her higher-ups had “yelled” at her.
We have extra precautions, like having our temp taken every morning on arriving in the building; logging our in/out time for future use if necessary to track; heavier emphasis than usual on hand washing; masking when 6 feet or less from a patient, i.e., when we’re treating; having only one person at a time in each treating room and disinfecting after each treatment; teaching and modeling sneeze/cough into elbow or tissue and using hand cleaner after. The facility is serving everyone in their rooms instead of the dining rooms. Patients are limited to one visitor per day and signs are posted on the entry doors with virus info and asking visitors if they’re not feeling well to not visit.
I was especially wound up and anxious one day at work this past week and had difficulty falling asleep a few nights. One thing that helped me was a tapping meditation from thetappingsolution.com. My therapist thinks highly of the folks who run it and had recommended it to me quite a while back. I’ve used it intermittently, but more intensively a couple weeks ago when they had their annual week-long blitz of free tapping videos. That was really good timing. They also have an app with a few freebies.
I want to share things that people find helpful, though inclusion of specific businesses, approaches, or other recommendations does not imply endorsement by the Corona Support Blog, aka Ruth Neuwald Falcon.