Family Housing Network’s Response to COVID 19
Faith Family Hospitality began serving vulnerable families experiencing homelessness over 8 years ago. The program’s success in housing families and helping them achieve self-sufficiency is based upon generosity and a huge volunteer effort, even during this critical time. We are amazed that we have been able to continue what we started despite this pandemic, yet we would never want to put our dedicated volunteers at risk for anything unhealthy, especially something like COVID 19. We want you to know we are taking every precaution to ensure continued good health for you, our families, and our staff following every guideline established by the CDC and the Larimer County Health Department.
- Location control – We have moved the entire agency to ONE location to gain control of a single area and be able to keep it disinfected more thoroughly. Foothills Unitarian Church generously offered our agency and families safe refuge during this pandemic. It is a large unused property at this time. Sanitation stations are placed at the entry of both buildings so guests and volunteers can sanitize before and after they enter the space. Bathrooms have posted handwashing instructions and hand sanitizer is posted around the property.
- Isolation – For anyone who shows symptoms or is exposed to someone with COVID 19, they will be isolated to a specific room established for isolation. If it is determined that the whole family needs to be isolation, they will stay in their already established room. Medical professionals will be called and if advised, the exposed/symptomatic person will be sent to the county’s established isolation location. If we are advised to keep them at Foothills, we will deliver meals to their room and a separate bathroom will be set up for their use.
- Screenings – Families are screened once a day to ensure we are complying with what most close contact work environments are doing and ensuring safety of staff, volunteers and families. Daily temperatures are being logged. Volunteers will be screened upon their arrival.
- Limited volunteers – We have scaled back the number of volunteers and their role in our program to limit the number of people at risk. Unfortunately, we need to limit the interactions between guests and volunteers at this time. We understand that this is a very important part of our program for both parties. We are hoping to have 2 volunteers present to evening host and overnight host but it will be sufficient to have only 1 of each. Both roles will have minimal contact with families to limit the spread of COVID-19. Today we believe it is best to err of the side of caution.
- Stay at Home Orders – Families are required to observe a six foot distance from other families at all times and encouraged to stay in their rooms as much as possible. Only one family is to use the kitchen at a time and then disinfect when they leave. They are permitted to observe the Governor’s stay at home rules: essential workers are going to work, their children are going to childcare, other kids are attending online school at Foothills and families are taking walks during the day time hours. They are stopping at the sanitation station when they return to the property.
- Dinner –Instead of several dinner preparers who would usually stay to serve, we are asking them to deliver their meal at the kitchen door, unless the meal preparer has signed up to evening host. Then ONE person serves the meal using gloves, plating the meal for each family in the kitchen, put the plates on a disinfected table outside the kitchen for families to be called to come up one table at a time to get their family’s meal. The social hall is very large. Each family has a designated table in the social hall which is spaced more than ten feet apart, keeping AMPLE space between guests. Families are required to use bleach solution on their tables when finished. Currently, we are using all paper products to improve hygiene and minimize work for one volunteer.
- After dinner – Families return to their rooms after dinner after visiting the sanitization station. While there are spaces such as the playground and patio that they may use (one family at a time) while keeping a 6 foot distance from one another, they usually choose to stay close to their private space. Evening hosts stay in main building until overnight host arrives so families can contact in the case of an emergency or need. Quiet time now starts at 8 pm.
- Overnight – Overnight host arrives at 8 pm. Upon arrival the overnight host can greet families from a distance if they would like to announce their arrival. In the education building, there are two rooms set aside in the upper level for overnight hosts to sleep in. Families’ rooms are in the lower level. Overnight hosts bring their own bedding and pillows. Their rooms and cots are disinfected in the morning to be ready for the next overnight host. The overnight host is not responsible for setting out breakfast. The overnight host has little to no interaction with the guests and what interaction they have is at a distance. In the morning, Families access the kitchen one at a time, (signage on the door) make their own coffee and breakfast, disinfecting afterwards. Staff follows up, Cleaning and disinfecting.
- Daytime disinfection – During the day, all high touch surfaces are disinfected every two hours and showers are disinfected after each family’s use. The kitchen is disinfected after every family’s use. Each family has been instructed on disinfection expectations and in the first week, they have done an incredible job of helping to keep it clean. The kitchen is disinfected before evening meal is accepted. Families are expected to take out their own trash daily.
- Laundry – Each Saturday, sheets and towels are stripped from guest rooms. At that time, all mattresses will be disinfected and new linens will be given to guests. Soiled linens will be placed in 4 laundry bags for pick up by volunteers. If linens are from a symptomatic guest, they will not be given to volunteers for washing. We have a second set of all linens so drop off of clean linens can occur anytime before the following Saturday. Families are doing their own laundry as usual. Guests are advised to remove clothes worn out in the public before dinner. Many guests wear uniforms at work and will change.
How can you help?
If you are comfortable and asymptomatic, please volunteer. We are so happy we can keep our program for our families during this difficult time, but are short on volunteers. In order to keep families sheltered, we need volunteers if you are able. Here is the link to sign up genius. FFH Overnight sign up or https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090449AEAA28A6FB6-faith
If you are unable to volunteer, we ask you to donate to support this work. Our May 5, our Heroes for Homeless Families event is postponed to a virtual at this time and we need critical funds to keep serving families who have no where else to shelter. The daily work to coordinate this effort and continue to support the other 20 families who were currently using our day center takes time and effort. We need you. Donate today by visiting Help FFH families during COVID 19