Over the last few weeks, we have continued working with our community partners to help ensure that our houseless community members are able to remain as safe, healthy, and supported as possible during this crisis.
Updates on homeless services during COVID-19 Crisis
· Local jurisdictions have worked together to provide portable restrooms, dumpsters, and handwashing stations to a number of local encampments in order to increase access to essential hygiene services.
· The Greater Regional Outreach Workers League (GROWL), an organization made up of outreach workers from a number of homeless services organizations—including, PiPE, Just Housing Olympia, Capital Recovery Center, Sidewalk, the Family Support Center, and Community Youth Services—are providing weekly outreach to our county’s encampments to provide folks with basic survival supplies and connection to social services.
· Just Housing Olympia’s laundry services for individuals who live at encampments we work closely with have continued (THANK YOU to our laundry volunteers who have made this possible!)
· Meals are currently being provided throughout the week to many of our county’s encampments. Hopefully, by the last week of April, capacity will have grown enough to provide one hot meal a day to 10 of our largest encampments (THANK YOU to the volunteers, the Community Kitchen, and Catholic Community Services for making this possible!)
· Sacred Heart Catholic Church has opened their facilities to provide access to showers Monday-Saturday for houseless individuals.
· Shower shuttles are being facilitated between encampments and Sacred Heart to ensure that folks can continue to access showers, despite the suspension of Intercity Transit services.
· Though some shelters have had to decrease the number of beds available per night to support proper social distancing, shelter providers have continued to provide life-saving indoor shelter beds for hundreds of our houseless community members.
· Quarantine and isolation beds for those who have COVID-19 (or who are awaiting test results) and who do not have a safe place to isolate will be available very soon. These spaces will be available to both housed and unhoused individuals.
This is only a short list of the many efforts that have been made to help ensure that everyone in our community is safe and supported through this crisis.
There are still many ways you can get involved and help!
The need for clothing has significantly increased in the midst of this crisis. Undergarments, socks, sweatshirts, sweats, and jackets are needed most. Please send us an email if you have clothing you’d like to donate.
Batteries, blankets, tarps, sanitizing/cleansing wipes, wound care supplies, candles, snacks, and disposable gloves are some of the most needed supplies. Click here for a full list of helpful supplies. Send us an email if you would like to donate supplies. You can also donate funds via paypal.me/justhousing if you would prefer to fund the purchase of supplies.
Become a volunteer driver!
Volunteer drivers are needed to help provide shuttle transportation from encampments to Sacred Heart for showers, Monday-Saturday. Each driving shift will last from 10:30am-12pm. Volunteer drivers will have access to a Community Van that has the capacity to support proper social distancing between the driver and riders. Drivers and riders will also have access to PPE. Please get in touch if you’d like to help with this!
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer driver, but cannot volunteer between the hours of 10:30am-12pm, please still get in touch. In the near future, more driving support may be needed to help expand access to both laundry services and water.
Volunteer to help with supply/meal distribution
Folks who are providing daily meals and outreach to encampments would love to have some more company to ensure that everyone always has a partner. Volunteers will always be working with someone who has experience providing outreach support to our county’s encampments. Most outreach shifts take place between the hours of 4-7:30pm every day of the week.
As always, thank you for your continued support.
We’ll get through this together!
Yours in solidarity,
Just Housing Olympia