Notes from the Field: Our Response to COVID-19
As an agency on the front lines of family homelessness, Adopt-A-Family has been working since the earliest days of the COVID-19 health crisis to respond thoughtfully, creatively, and rapidly to our community’s most pressing needs.
Thousands of parents in Palm Beach County have no safety net – jobs have been lost or hours have been cut, and there’s not enough money to pay the rent and feed their children. Any anxiety about COVID-19 is amplified by the fear of becoming homeless. And so our initial efforts have been centered around ramping up our homelessness prevention program, to keep more families in their homes where they’re safe.
The community response has been extraordinary.
Adopt-A-Family’s many supporters have shown characteristic concern and selfless generosity, and we offer our unending thanks. They have provided us with hope and inspiration as we continue to provide vital housing services to families in need. (To join our family of supporters, please click here.) This work is simply not possible without the help of donors and funding partners who care so deeply about families in crisis.
We’re still serving families. It just looks different.
· The safety of our staff and the families we serve is our number one priority.
· Our emergency family shelter is at capacity, with extra safety precautions in place.
· In every program, case management services have transitioned to remote delivery and continue uninterrupted.
· While school is out, Project Grow teachers interact with students by phone and through Google Classroom, offering academic and emotional support. We miss the kids, but they are doing well considering the circumstances.
The number of families needing help has doubled…
… and so we have prepared to double our efforts to prevent family homelessness.
· Our homeless prevention program received 426 calls for assistance in March. That’s twice the call volume from March 2019, and we know the need will grow.
· We are hearing from families who work in every sector of the job force – mechanics, restaurant workers, health aides, and small business employees.
· In one week alone, we made $19,000 in rent payments to keep 15 families current on their rent.
· Adopt-A-Family believes this: the more quickly we respond in preventing family homelessness now, the less burden we’ll see in the family homeless system later.
“Stay home” presumes you have a home.
Keeping families housed is now a public health imperative.