Earlier this week, I was in our office on 3rd Avenue and 123rd Street in East Harlem, meeting with staff to discuss our commitment to safety while still providing vital services to our participants. An older gentleman came up to me and told me he had just come home after doing a 37-year bid. He was hungry, tired, and full of uncertainty in the midst of this public health crisis. In addition to his plastic bag holding all his worldly belongings, he also held two fines, $100 each, for jumping the subway turnstile. Imagine being incarcerated 37 years and coming home to a city in lockdown in the middle of one of the largest and scariest epidemics we have ever faced as a nation.
“I knew I would get the help I needed coming to Exodus,”
he said with a weary smile, and he did. Because we have made the decision to keep our doors open, we were able to provide him a hot meal, a change of clothes, and a safe place to sleep. We also gave him a metro card so he would not receive another summons for jumping the turnstile, and matched him with one of our contract coaches who was there in-person to help link him to healthcare and mental health services. 90% of our staff are justice-involved, have achieved higher education, are credentialed to do this work, and know first-hand the challenges individuals released from incarceration face. – This is what Exodus Transitional Community is built on – restoring hope and changing lives.
Because we are committed to protecting the health and safety of our community, we made the difficult decision to reduce our hours, and suspend our job readiness workshops and job fairs that so many of our participants depend on to find a job. We are maintaining small teams of staff onsite during these reduced hours, and continuing to provide virtual services, and remote follow-up by our staff members who are working from home. Our commitment is to not reduce payroll, and to ensure all our staff continues to receive a paycheck and healthcare coverage. Additionally, since our doors remain open to provide crisis intervention, and critical services such as food, transportation, shelter, and linkages to medical, mental health, and substance use treatment, we continue to incur overhead, as well as concrete service expenditures in the areas of food, metro cards, hygiene kits, and small emergency assistance grants as needed.
These decisions mean that, while we continue to provide services, and to keep our doors open,
we are now facing increased program costs, while less revenue is coming in
Our community is in need of your support more than ever.
Thank you for your unwavering support during this challenging time. Your generous gift today will enable more than 2,000 men, women and youth to change the arc of their lives and our community this year.
Thank you for standing with us in this circle of compassion.