An Update from Toby Owen, CEO
March 18, 2020
Friends of Presbyterian Night Shelter,
I am writing to keep you up-to-date on the changing nature of our response to coronavirus (COVID-19). The outpouring of support from our community amidst our efforts to mitigate the effect on Presbyterian Night Shelter guests has been nothing short of inspiring. From all of the staff working around the clock to meet the needs of our guests, and from the bottom of my heart - thank you.
Presbyterian Night Shelter’s number one priority continues to be the health and safety of our guests and staff. I am in constant contact with community partners, local and state officials, and other organization stakeholders as we navigate making the changes to our day-to-day operations that are necessary for adapting to this public health crisis.
We will be implementing measures across campus that promote social distancing. We are suspending all face-to-face case management meetings with guests enrolled in programs on campus. Presbyterian Night Shelter staff will be encouraging guests to practice social distancing while on campus, including but not limited to:
- Meals (e.g. waiting in line, eating in the cafeteria)
- Refraining from congregating in large groups
- Rearranging or removing furniture in some buildings to limit guests from gathering in large groups.
In accordance with a recent city and county health official mandate to put 6 feet of space between each bed, the service capacity of two of our buildings is decreasing: the Karl Travis Men’s Center by 200 guests (50% lower) and the Lowden-Schutts Women’s Shelter by 50 guests (28% lower). The City of Fort Worth has created an overflow shelter for guests of Presbyterian Night Shelter and other local shelters that have lower capacity after the recent mandate. Diligent, intentional planning went in to determining which guests will sheltered on campus, and what guests would be transitioned to the overflow shelter; maintaining the health of each guest, while also fulfilling our mission and meeting their basic needs, is of the utmost importance as we begin implementing these changes.
True Worth Place will remain open to guests that are being transitioned to the overflow shelter and people that are unsheltered. Guests staying at the Karl Travis Men’s Center and Lowden-Schutts Women’s Shelter will have 24 hour access to each respective building, increasing the amount of space available to practice social distancing.
Our early preparations and responses to the current global health crisis laid a solid foundation for our mitigation efforts. As conversations with local officials have happened and rapid changes are required, the unbudgeted expenses continue to rise, with approximately $16,000 spent thus far and the extra costs expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Your support during this time is crucial to our continued efforts to meet the needs of those most vulnerable in our community.
Toby Owen, CEO