At Family Promise, desperate times call for creative measures.
The COVID-19 crisis has been a proving ground for Family Promise Affiliates, volunteers, and partners across the country as service providers resort to unique and creative measures that ensure vulnerable families to continue to receive the support they need while working to regain independence.
Over the next several weeks we’ll be highlighting the unique ways Affiliates are serving families battling homelessness during this challenging time.
Family Promise of Greater Savannah, GA, has been able to take advantage of the freeze in tourism to accommodate families in its shelter program during the COVID-19 crisis. Generous donors have offered vacant Airbnb properties to house families for as long as needed during the self-quarantine period.
Six families are sharing three apartments in Savannah, and volunteers have donated food items, cleaning supplies, gift cards, and other necessities to ensure life is as “normal” as can be during this challenging time. The Affiliate continues to provide case management remotely, but for now, they’re also checking on the families daily.
“We have gloves, masks, and we’re taking protective measures to keep staff and families safe,” says Executive Director Katrina Bostick. “So far, the families are doing pretty well given the circumstances.”
Savannah just recently ordered non-essential businesses to close their storefronts, so none of the parents in Family Promise of Greater Savannah’s shelter program is currently working.
“It was a little disheartening. Some of the parents had just gone back to work, and now they’ll have to wait a little longer and get through this quarantine time,” says Bostick.
The Affiliate is also supporting families who have graduated from the program. Those families have been able to come by the day center to pick up food and other provisions. Several graduate parents are in healthcare professions, and Family Promise has worked with them to ensure they keep their jobs but don’t expose their children to any health risks.
Bostick explains, “People in healthcare might be terminated if they don’t show up for work. We gave the families impacted by this gas cards so they could take their kids to stay with family members. This way they can continue to work and not worry about childcare or risking their children’s health. These parents want to stay viable in the workforce. They don’t want to experience another episode of homelessness.”
As the only agency of its kind in the area that accepts entire families into its shelter program, Bostick is extremely grateful for the goodwill she has seen from the surrounding communities.
“We’ve had tremendous support from volunteers. People have been very generous in helping us push through this period,” she says.