March 13, 2020
Over the past few weeks, it’s become clear that the world is facing an unprecedented challenge. Like you, we are deeply concerned and want to do what we can to help keep our communities and families safe and healthy. As the situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) evolves, I want to send a personal note to share our plan of action and reaffirm Austin Street Center’s commitment to keeping our staff, clients, volunteers, guests, and wider community safe.
From the onset of this situation, we have been in continuous communication with Dallas County’s Health & Human Services and Dallas City Mayor’s Office, while receiving additional guidance from Housing & Urban Development, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC); therefore, you can expect continuing communication as we receive new information.
We have implemented the following precautionary measures to help protect you and to help prevent the spread of infection:
- Continuous cleaning and disinfecting of high touch surface areas
- Increasing hand sanitizer locations.
- Educating and basic screening of clients upon intake
- Decreasing bed capacity and reconfiguring beds to increase spacing
- Decontamination process of HVAC systems
- Creating a new 5 tier Infectious Disease Prevention & Response Policy & Procedure, including decision support tools and cough alert process Additionally, in order to limit exposure at the shelter, we are canceling all group and individual volunteers activities through March 20th. Once we re-establish volunteer service, we ask our volunteers to consider their recent travel, age, and any potential underlying health conditions before signing up to volunteer.
If you are a meal service provider and would like to deliver food on your scheduled date, please contact Libby Card at Libby.Card@austinstreet.org or 214-295-9361.
Austin Street Center’s Humble Beginnings Luncheon on April 29 is currently being re-evaluated, and we expect updated information soon on a potential postponement plan.
We need your help! We are being asked to expect an increased demand for our services to feed the hungry, provide a safe and healing environment, and restore dignity for all those who need our assistance. During this time, we ask you to consider our request for financial and in-kind support for additional staffing needs, cleaning supplies, client assistance, and purchased meals for those churches and businesses who can no longer provide. Your support to our clients are critical, and we continue to be in awe of what you do for our community experiencing homelessness every day. For more information, go to https://www.austinstreet.org/give/donate/
We recognize this is a challenging time for all, and we remain deeply committed to the safety of our clients, staff, volunteers, guests, and our wider community. We will continue to closely monitor this situation and keep you apprised of any updates.
Please take care of yourselves and each other,
Chief Executive Officer
Austin Street Center