Blog

COVID-19 Is Affecting Us All

Dan Gregory March 13, 2020

The latest updates on Beacon’s preparations for COVID-19

Information on this page will be updated as necessary. Please check in periodically to ensure you have the latest information.
Last Updated 5/29/2020 at 4:30 p.m. CST

Beacon is concerned for all our neighbors affected by the COVID-19 virus and is committed to doing our part to slow the spread of the virus and support those who are sick. The homes and shelter services we provide are essential. We’re committed to continuing to respond to community need. With the guidance of public health experts and our partners in the community, we are taking steps to protect the safety of our residents, shelter guests, staff and volunteers. We will adapt as more is learned by those experts and as the outbreak evolves in our community. 

Residents and Shelter Guests

Many of our residents are especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 outbreak. Homelessness can have life-long impacts on people’s health, making them more susceptible to developing illness. In addition, people who are black, brown, and indigenous are more vulnerable due to historic inequities in health and housing.

There have been a small number of isolated cases of COVID-19 at Beacon’s properties. We are working with our property managers and service partners to prevent the spread of the virus, including:

  • Ensuring our cleaning protocols align with public health recommendations.
  • Making sure residents and guests are informed about how they can protect themselves and their families from the virus and have the supplies they need to do so.
  • Planning for how we’ll respond if residents or guests are exposed to the virus.

Collaborating Congregations

Many of our collaborating congregations regularly host families experiencing homelessness in their facilities, extending gracious hospitality, warm meals, and a comfortable place to sleep. To protect families and hosting volunteers, we have decided to shelter families in motels instead of hosting congregations beginning March 22 and continuing through at least May 31. We will be monitoring the situation and will determine whether the motel period needs to be extended. Congregations will continue to provide meals for families in shelter. We’re working with each congregation individually as their weeks approach to make the necessary arrangements for meals. Meanwhile, together with families, we’ve stepped up cleaning at our program centers, are ensuring families know how to protect themselves and their children, and are limiting visitors.

Collaborating congregations are also active in housing and policy work. To follow public health guidance for meetings and events, Beacon is shifting most of our events to virtual gatherings. We are awaiting direction on the timing and format of city and county votes. We’ll keep congregational leaders informed via social media, email, and our website.  

Staff

As in our apartment buildings and program centers, we’re stepping up cleaning and ensuring staff are informed about ways to protect themselves and their colleagues from the virus. Following public health advice, staff who are able are working remotely. We are grateful to those whose responsibilities require them to be at our program centers and administrative office and are taking appropriate precautions to ensure their sustained health. If you need to reach any staff member, the best way to do so during this time will be email. Find a full list on our Staff page.

What you can do

First, take care of yourself. Follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control.

If you have the ability to also help others:

  • Make a donation: It will cost at least $15,000 more per week to support residents in Beacon homes and families in our shelter program by purchasing additional cleaning supplies and moving shelter guests into hotel rooms. We may have additional financial responsibilities that arise as the situation progresses. And, the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the urgency of ensuring all people have a home. Make a gift today to keep Beacon at the forefront of those responding to need in our community.   
  • Ask our state leaders to support emergency housing relief packages. No one should lose their home because they can’t pay their rent, utility bill, or other housing-related expenses. The COVID-19 virus and its economic impact will disproportionately hurt people who are homeless and those already living on the edge, barely able to afford a home. We must raise our voices to our legislators today.
  • Advocate for more homes: Follow Beacon on social media and subscribe to receive emails with the most current information about what you can do.
  • Stand up against misinformation and stigma – viruses don’t discriminate.