Since the COVID-19 Pandemic has begun spreading in our community, ARCH Roanoke has been working diligently to ensure the safety of our clients, our staff, and our community. From PPE training and provision, to altering service procedures for improved safety, ARCH is constantly improving procedures to protect the most vulnerable citizens of the Roanoke Valley.
Each program of ARCH Roanoke has created a tailored response that focuses on proactive measures; if necessary, the organization has contingency plans to respond to outbreaks of the virus within each facility and in the communities we serve. Each program is working to ensure the safety of both clients and staff while continuing to provide needed services to our community.
Currently, Bethany Hall is on strict lock-down, with only staff entering and exiting unless a client is in an emergency requiring medical attention off-site. Clinicians are implementing technological solutions that allow for social distancing during all therapeutic groups and activities. New intakes are isolated upon entry until staff are sure that no symptoms of COVID-19 are present. Currently, ARCH is seeking funding to support General Operating Costs– project revenue losses due to this pandemic are estimated at $70,000 by July 1, 2020. These losses relate to decreased enrollments and insurance payments issues.
Due to the COVID-19, the Trust House shelter is transitioning into the Roanoke Valley Isolation Facility. Current, healthy shelter residents have been transferred into hotels in the community, where they are socially isolating while still receiving the services needed for them to exit the cycle of homelessness, including daily food deliveries, laundry, and therapeutic case management. ARCH is also expanding the number of people we serve normally in the Trust House program– typically, the program supports 27 individuals at a time. However, in an effort to further slow the spread of this virus, ARCH is providing hotel rooms to individuals experiencing homelessness who are not residents of Trust House. This expansion is spreading both resources and staff thin as we fight to provide the same level of case management in hotels as clients would receive in shelter.
ARCH Roanoke is partnering with a number of community partners in order to continuing providing needed services to our clients. The Salvation Army is providing daily meals, the Blue Ridge Continuum of Care is providing financial support, and both Blue Ridge Behavioral Health and the Department of Veteran Affairs are continuing to support our shared clients.
Roanoke Valley Isolation Facility
For the foreseeable future, Trust House will serve as the Roanoke Valley Isolation Facility. All individuals experiencing homelessness that are COVID+ or awaiting results will be quarantined at Trust House. ARCH is diligently working to adequately train staff, prepare isolation spaces, and develop procedures that will protect the clients, the staff, and the community. Currently, ARCH is in need of in-kind donations to support the success of this shelter. We are especially seeking: toilet paper (individually wrapped), activities such as used DVDs, activity books, and easy readers, non-perishable foods, and any available PPE gear.
ARCH Roanoke also has a number of partners supporting the Roanoke Valley Isolation Facility. Our organization is working closely with the City of Roanoke, Carilion, the CoC, and other service providers to create a more sustainable solution for the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on the homeless population. Our goal is the use this crisis as a spring board for more collaborative and effective housing methods and procedures in the future.
Permanent Supportive Housing and Housing Stability Programs
All of our case managers are now working from home, and implementing service procedures that minimize all client to staff contact. The biggest challenge our clients in the community has faced is related to the scarcity and rising prices of typical household items. Too, many of our PSH/HS participants are also living with a disability or other factor that puts them at high-risk for COVID-19 related complications. Our case managers are having to get creative with methods of supporting our clients, while maintaining our health. Some case managers have purchased clients phones to enable more communication, and each client has had to create an emergency preparedness plan related to each of their households.