An Update from Toby Owen, CEO
December 30, 2020
With 2020 coming to a close and the New Year right around the corner, I want to provide a brief update on current operations at Presbyterian Night Shelter.
We are maintaining the limited operational capacity measures that were put in place earlier this year for the Karl Travis Men’s Center, Lowdon-Schutts Women’s Center, and True Worth Place; other programs on campus are operating normally. Additional mitigation efforts, including masks, social distancing, and enhanced cleaning protocols, will remain in effect until the CDC and local health officials recommend otherwise. Instituting and maintaining these restrictions and limited operational measures has slowed down the Karl Travis Men’s Center renovation; however, the work being done on the building is going exceptionally well, with an expected completion window of March 2021.
Leadership is currently advocating with local health officials to have our frontline staff be considered first responders, with the hope being that the vaccine will be available early to guests and staff. Serving a vulnerable population, we believe it is important to the health and safety of our staff and guests to get the vaccine distributed and administered as quickly as possible.
Housing guests during a pandemic remains a challenge; however, our frontline staff and case managers have not lessened their efforts. It is critical that we continue looking forward and making every effort to move guests out of homelessness and in to independent living. Since the beginning of this year, we have moved 1,391 people (928 adults, 463 children) out of homelessness! An incredible achievement in any year, these numbers are a testament to the hard work that has carried us through 2020, regardless of circumstances or restrictions. Not only are we proud to report the number of people housed, but through UpSpire we currently have 125 positions across 36 contracts throughout the greater Fort Worth area. The employment opportunities created through UpSpire are an integral part of what makes Presbyterian Night Shelter’s mission a reality.
Support from the community throughout this difficult year has been nothing short of astounding. Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to every single person, group, business, organization, and church that has contributed time, talent, and treasure to benefit our guests. It is vital that we maintain this wave of support moving in to 2021 – we anticipate a significant number of evictions once the moratorium is lifted, leading to an increased number of people entering homelessness, often for the first time. Families will be hit the hardest when this happens, adding a sense of urgency to being prepared for an influx of parents and their children.
With such a dedicated community of supporters, we are confident that Presbyterian Night Shelter can tackle whatever 2021 holds. From all of us in the Presbyterian Night Shelter family, we wish you and yours a Happy New Year!
Toby Owen, CEO