Given Contra Costa County Health Department’s March 16th order for county residents and businesses to shelter in place (https://cchealth.org/coronavirus/pdf/HO-COVID19-SIP-0316-2020.pdf), and considering that homeless shelters are essential businesses per the order, the Winter Nights Executive Team considered how best to shelter, feed and provide services to the 6 families in the program.
The Executive Team decided:
Winter Nights will remain in operation until all families in the program now (6) are housed with the present schedule in place rather than implementing a costly motel voucher alternative. No new families will join the program. The shelter will continue to operate with modifications in order to minimize or eliminate volunteer contact (social distancing), while still providing services.
As the season draws to a close, we anticipate that the number of clients will dwindle as all of our families have been accepted by housing agencies for placement!!!
Here are the modifications:
· Volunteers on-site: Volunteers will not be allowed into the shelter area/kitchen to prepare or serve meals.
· Meals : Breakfast, lunch and snack Food will be supplied by the congregations. But not prepared or served by them. Congregations should deliver the food supplies and staff and clients will prepare and serve. When leaving food please write instructions for what is available, where located and when to be put out. The same for garbage bags and other items for packing and serving.
· Meals: Dinners Only commercially prepared food (restaurants, grocery deli’s etc.) will be allowed for dinners. No home cooking or preparing dinners at the site. Dinners can be delivered by the restaurant or brought to the site by volunteers. Again, clients and staff will serve and clean up.
· Cost of Prepared Dinners: Congregations may donate the cost of the dinner meals, but if that is not possible, Winter Nights will cover the costs. A separate letter will go out to Winter Nights Summit members and others for donations to help pay for the restaurant meals.
· Food service: Host and co-hosts will provide disposable plates, cups and utensils, preferable compostable. Providing gloves for those handling food would be appreciated.
· Overnights: There will not be a need for an overnight volunteer.
· We request that each host supply a list of persons for shelter staff to contact in case something goes wrong in the building. If there is another kind of emergency, staff will call 911.
· Cleaning: Shelter staff and clients will be responsible for cleaning of the site using the recommended techniques and protocols to minimize the transition of this virus that are already in place.
We continue to practice safety and diligence in keeping surfaces clean. At this time we are planning for clients to remain at the host site at all times, weekdays, nights and weekends. This schedule may change if there is a need.
Thank you for all the wonderful, caring, helpful things you do for our homeless families.
–The Executive Team
Or send a check to Winter Nights, 404 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523. Make it payable to Winter Nights.