Firehouse Ministries understands and recognizes its role in the community as a homeless shelter for homeless men in Birmingham, Alabama. Our primary goal is to keep the guests and staff safe and well cared for throughout the year. Unfortunately, the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) will be taxing to our agency on all fronts, as we are a small agency with a limited budget and staff, that relies heavily on volunteer support.
The Firehouse, effective Tuesday, March 17th, 2020, will enact the following policies to protect the health and welfare of our homeless guests.
· Each person, upon entry, will have their temperature taken with a forehead or temporal scanner. This includes guests, staff, and non paid staff. If a person is running a temperature of 100.4, they will not be allowed entry into the shelter and directed to the health department or health care facility. This is paramount to protect the vulnerable homeless population.
· Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, we will be discontinuing several open to the public programs, including GED and Clothing closet. Effective March 17th, 2020, we are drastically reducing the amount of volunteers allowed in the building to avoid unintentional disease spread.
We encourage our serving groups to prepare meals and drop them off
. Staff and shelter guests will serve the meals to onsite residents. The recovery group will be permitted to meet at this time, and the Chapel will be sanitized immediately after the group ends the meeting.
· We have ordered additional hand sanitizing dispensers for the emergency shelter. There are signs posted in all areas of the shelter encouraging increased handwashing and use of hand sanitizer products.
· We are discouraging handshaking, hugging, sharing of cigarettes, food, or drinks, and encouraging social distancing and coughing etiquette. Signs are posted on the front doors and around the shelter reminding people of best practice to avoid disease spread.
· Staff is sanitizing all surfaces hourly with disinfectant and distributing portable hand sanitizers as available.