Like many of you, we have been closely following the news and updates from officials and health organizations regarding the spread of COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”). New updates are coming in all the time, and while these are anxious times, we at HumanKind Ministries are reassured by the safety precautions being taken across the country, in our own community, and on our HumanKind campus.
While many of us can and should practice “social distancing”, the need for HumanKind Ministries’s work goes on. We are doing everything we can to stay true to our mission of serving our region’s most vulnerable populations—those experiencing homelessness or poverty—who need our help now more than ever.
Please read on to learn more about how we are making every effort to keep our clients, staff, volunteers, donors and community partners safe, and be sure to check back for updates as the situation evolves.
Volunteers: The health and safety of our clients, volunteers and staff is of the utmost importance to HumanKind. At this time, we are suspending volunteer efforts at HumanKind effective immediately. This includes the Men’s and Women’s Emergency Winter Shelters, The Inn, and the administrative offices. Meals at the Emergency Winter Shelter have also been suspended; volunteers are not allowed on our campus or inside our facilities at this time.
Donations: Many of you have reached out to see how you can help the vulnerable populations we serve at HumanKind Ministries in light of the COVID-19 pandemic; thank you for thinking of our clients and us! Monetary donations are most helpful in allowing us to continue our mission of supporting those experiencing homelessness or poverty in our community. Donations of cleaning supplies and non-perishable food items are also appreciated. Please note that we are only accepting donations of these items at this time:
Special Events: In light of the CDC’s warnings against gatherings of 50 or more people, we have made the difficult decision to postpone our upcoming Sleep Out/Speak Out fundraising event. We hate to do this, as the event raises critical funds vital to continuing operations and covering the extra costs of associated with caring for our clients during this time, but your safety remains our top priority.
If you haven’t already, we hope you will still consider signing up for the event—as an event attendee or virtual participant—and use this extra time to raise much-needed funds and awareness to support our homeless neighbors. We will announce a new date as soon as one is determined.
Administrative Offices: Our Administrative Offices located at 829 N. Market will remain locked, with a detailed note on the front door regarding all program information. We will still see clients and donors, but they must be let in by staff. We strongly encourage appointments. Guests will be presented with hand sanitizer or asked to wash their hands upon entry, and we will use social distancing with anyone visiting the admin office (a minimum of six feet apart). We have also established a cleaning schedule, every hour door handles, and common areas are will be wiped down.
Shelters: Homeless individuals and families are at particular risk for contracting COVID-19, so we are taking special precautions to keep our staff, clients, residents and others safe during this time. We will be protecting clients by adjusting our intake procedures, separating those with illnesses and implementing prevention strategies to minimize exposure. Ultimately it is our goal to prevent and manage the spread of infectious diseases for people experiencing homelessness and for those living in our community.
The Inn will remain open. Intake has changed slightly for additional screening. We will be segregating clients 50 years and older and those that have preexisting conditions to groups of rooms on third floor. The dining room will be closed, and no dinner will be cooked. The Lord’s Diner is serving to-go meals that can be brought back to the shelter to be eaten in clients’ rooms from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Staff will circulate a trash can beginning at 7:00 p.m. so no food can be hoarded or kept in rooms. Breakfast will be individually wrapped items and served by floor, with the first and second floor served at 7:00 a.m., and the third floor at 7:30 a.m. Weekend lunches will be prepared by staff (brown bagged lunch) to eat in rooms. The Community Room will be closed and used as Quarantine Room in the event of a COVID-19 breakout. The first floor bathrooms are for those who are ill, the second floor handicap bathroom is for staff use only, and the third floor handicap restroom will be utilized by those 50 years and older.
The Men’s Emergency Winter Shelter will remain open through March 31 as planned. The entrance to the shelter will be at the back door effective immediately. The check-in table will be set up near the back. Staff will wear gloves and masks, pat clients down, check clients’ backpacks (limit one bag per client), etc. Client will wash their hands immediately upon entering the building, and will sleep in segregated quarters—those 50 years and older and those with preexisting health conditions will sleep downstairs; those under the age of 50 and in relatively good health will sleep upstairs. Clients with multi-symptoms of illness, such as fever, will be quarantined in the upstairs room next to the office with plastic hung to separate the room from other rooms. No food will be served at the shelter, with clients referred to the Lord’s Diner. All tables will be taken down to make more room for mats. We will be practicing and strongly encouraging social distancing. The clothing closet will be closed. The clinic will not be open, with the exception of specific health partners we are working with to address COVID-19.
The Women’s Emergency Winter Shelter will remain open through March 31 as planned. The check-in table will be moved to the back of the room near the bathrooms for hand-washing upon entry. Staff will wear gloves and masks, pat down clients, check clients’ backpacks (limit one bag per client), etc. Tables will be removed so mats can be spread further apart. All tables will be taken down to make more room for mats. We will be practicing and strongly encouraging social distancing. No food will be served at the shelter, with clients referred to the Lord’s Diner. The clothing closet will be closed. The clinic will not be open, with the exception of specific health partners we are working with to address COVID-19.
Leasing Office & Case Management: Our leasing office will remain locked until further notice. Residents can communicate with the Apartment program manager via phone. The leasing office may have meetings by appointment only, if necessary (social distancing will also be required). Residents will need to submit all maintenance requests in writing and submit them into the drop box by the leasing office front door.
Life Skills classes will not be held until further notice. Case Manager offices will remain locked with instructions on the door to call for support. Case Managers will continue helping as much as possible, but by phone only.
If you have any questions or concerns about any of this, please reach out to HumanKind Ministries President/CEO LaTasha St. Arnault at LaTasha@HumanKindWichita.org.