A Letter from Toby Owen, CEO
March 12, 2020
I want to keep you informed of our response to the growing impact that coronavirus (COVID-19) is having in our nation. At Presbyterian Night Shelter, our number one priority is the health and safety of our guests, staff, and volunteers. We have been and will continue making diligent, informed decisions around the coronavirus, maintaining constant contact with local government and other community partners in the process.
Effective immediately, we will be suspending volunteer activity campus-wide, including all classes at True Worth Place, as well as suspending outside service provider activities for all programs. Presbyterian Night Shelter is taking the potential effect of this health crisis seriously, exercising precaution throughout the organization. We will be in close contact with all parties involved about when these activities will resume.
Over the last few weeks, we made the conscious decision to begin taking precautionary steps in response to the developments around the coronavirus. Two weeks ago, extra supplies of hand sanitizer, alcohol, Lysol spray and facemasks were ordered. After these supplies were ordered, an email was sent out to all staff members informing them of the preliminary steps we were taking in response to the outbreak, as well as updating them on the updated cleaning guidelines we would be implementing (per the recommendation of the CDC). Bathrooms across our campus are stocked with hand soap; hand sanitizer is located in all our buildings, accessible to guests and staff members. In order to ensure guests received similar information, we have flyers with information about the virus posted campus-wide.
We have been closely monitoring updates from the CDC, state and local governments, and other community partners, to maintain our high level of preparedness and adjust accordingly based on the fluidity of the situation. In the past week, as a response to the increased measures being taken across the country, extra supplies of soap, bleach, disinfectant, gloves, buckets, and other cleaning supplies were ordered, as well as two weeks of emergency food. Additionally, members of the leadership team have participated in multiple conference calls and webinars around the coronavirus, keeping us abreast of facts from experts, and their recommended response(s) to the situation.
As of today, we have significantly increased measures around campus to ensure that the health and safety of guests, staff and volunteers remains the top priority. Updated cleaning guidelines are being implemented effectively immediately across all buildings on our campus. I met with the leadership team and program managers to provide an update on our response to the situation and discuss the plan we have in place moving forward. All staff members are exercising flexibility around job duties, stepping up to support the janitorial and food service teams when needed.
Our response to the coronavirus was early and swift. Although the population of people experiencing homelessness in Tarrant County is only one piece of our vibrant community, guests staying at Presbyterian Night Shelter are those most vulnerable, and we will continue treating them with respect, extending compassion, and practicing responsibility. We have spent close to $10,000 on these unbudgeted expenses, with costs expected to increase as we continue monitor this ever-changing situation. I urge you to make a donation today and join us as we work to meet the needs of our homeless community.
Toby Owen, CEO