Today I am writing to you from our Emergency Shelter – the place where Lazarus House got its start some 37 years ago. You, who have volunteered at the shelter, know that it is a house that has been adapted over the years to fit up to 42 people! It’s impressive, really, and our staff here are sources of light and hope for our Guests. Right now, we have four families, five single men, and one single woman staying here.
We are particularly concerned because of the interconnected nature of the house design; social distancing is hard (but we are doing it), and isolation or quarantine of a sick person would not be possible here. To work safely within our limits of space, we have decided not to take in new Guests since the Coronavirus became THE story about a month ago. Painfully, sadly, we have had to turn people away. The staff and I are worried about what will happen if (when) a Guest or staff member comes down with COVID-19.
I am in the shelter today to cover a day shift. Our staff, as much as they love their work and feel called to service here, are increasingly under pressure from family and friends to stop coming to work. I can understand that. The truth be told, I was feeling a bit anxious about serving in the shelter today, but I found it to be refreshing, as it still shines with the same light of Christ that has always shone so brightly here. The Guests are helping to clean and sanitize their home, they (and we) are practicing social distancing, and the kids are playing and singing as kids do. Life is as usual for our Guests as it can be. They, like many of you, are staying in place and taking care of their children 24/7.
So back to our concern: What do we do if someone in the shelter tests positive for COVID-19? We have been on calls all week collaborating with the Lazarus House leaders, with the city, with many other non-profits in the community to make plans and find solutions for the care and quarantine of people who are homeless or in shelters like ours. Like you, we have invested many hours in ZOOM meetings on various topics. We meet in preparation and response to the COVID-19 crisis for our Guests; for our community. What we are all about to face is unprecedented. I’ll keep you posted.
Thanks for your continued generosity and support of Lazarus House Ministries during this crisis when the need is heightened.
Linking Arms … From a Distance