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Shelters: Not Built for Social Distancing

PUBLISHED: Apr 01, 2020

We spoke with Bruce Ives, CEO of LifeMoves last week about his organization’s response to COVID-19. LifeMoves, the primary provider for homelessness services on the Peninsula, is one of 13 organizations who have already received an Emergency Response grant from Tipping Point.

 “We have 23 sites, including 10 large shelters, that are housing 950 vulnerable people. Our clients are used to uncertainty, but they feel especially vulnerable now. We’re trying to practice social distancing as best we can in a shelter environment: spacing out beds, moving folks off-site, and converting conference rooms into isolation rooms. It’s a lot of extra work. 

Right now, one of our top priorities is getting our most vulnerable clients into hotel rooms. We have people with cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure who need to be isolated. The partnerships that are emerging between the public sector, local businesses, and non-profits have been a ray of hope. And, of course, our staff.  

Our staff are everyday heroes; they have been incredible through this crisis. They’re feeling the stress but also buckling down and doing the work. Their mission-driven instinct is overriding any fear or anxiety. Staff from other teams are raising their hands up to cover extra shifts at the shelters to make sure everyone living there is as safe as possible.

Like many non-profits, our costs are climbing. We’re purchasing extra cleaning products, deep cleaning our shelters often, and buying protective equipment for staff. We’re having to buy meals that would usually be covered by volunteers, but have partnered with local organizations –like jails and schools—who are making meals for our shelters. But our single biggest cost is our staff. With many unable to work because of lack of access to childcare, the projected additional costs are well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

  • WATCH“It’s going to take everyone to get through this crisis,” Sam Cobbs, Tipping Point CEO, tells KTVU
  • READ: How we’re finding solutions to homelessness to last beyond the crisis, by Tipping Point’s Andrea Evans 
  • SHAREGovernor Newsom joins Tipping Point Community Briefing

Claims for unemployment benefits in California more than tripled last week to 187,000.
Source: NBC Bay Area


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