COVID-19 Update June 3, 2020
Siena Francis House recently had two shelter staff members test positive for the coronavirus. Both individuals have been quarantining at home and will not return to work until they have been symptom-free for 10 days. When we learned of these positive cases, we were in immediate contact with the Douglas County Health Department and have developed a response plan, with their guidance. The Douglas County Health Department, UNMC and CHI have all been working with Siena Francis House, over the last many weeks, to implement a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The safety of all our guests and staff have been at the forefront of our work since early March, when the threat of COVID-19 began in our community. Our staff have done an amazing job of implementing changes to address this threat, throughout our programs and our campus, for which I am especially grateful.
Rest assured, we will continue to make necessary adjustments in our efforts to keep clients and staff safe. And, we will also continue to provide updates regarding any future developments, related to COVID-19 and how it is affecting the Siena Francis House.
COVID-19 Update April 9, 2020
Dear Caring Friends,
I trust you and your loved ones are doing as well as can be expected in these uncertain times.
While the Siena Francis House has begun to encounter shortages of food, supplies and volunteers, we continue to meet the ever-evolving challenges posed by the COVID-19 virus. And, our staff continues to provide our life-saving services of emergency shelter, food and clothing to those most in need from our very own community.
Following the guidance of health and government officials, we have been diligent in educating our homeless guests about the best practices of social distancing, handwashing and hand sanitizing. We also have greatly increased facility cleaning and disinfecting – all undertaken with the goal of containing the risk of infection. Our staff and board of directors remain steadfast in our commitment to the safety and well-being of those seeking assistance.
These last many weeks have definitely been challenging, given the fact that we’ve been serving over 400 persons a night in emergency shelter. But, these are challenges we are addressing and finding answers to – in collaboration with local health professionals from our community – while offering our services to the homeless with compassion and dignity, both hallmarks of the Siena Francis House, since 1975.
If you have made a recent donation to support our services here at Siena Francis House, thank you. If not, will you please consider making such a gift right now? I would greatly appreciate it. Please click HERE to make a donation to Siena Francis House on our secure website.
Thank you for your sustained support of our mission of serving hope to the homeless, and especially during these trying times. Together, we can and will get through this.
Message From Executive Director, Linda Twomey, Regarding COVID-19
As the homeless seek shelter through this unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, Siena Francis House is serving more meals and providing more shelter than even just a couple of weeks ago.
I invite you to check out this 2-minute video that outlines the measures our staff is taking to prepare both staff and guests:
Included in this video is a list of needed supplies - of which the Siena Francis House is running very low - and which we would appreciate receiving as donations. All donation items can be dropped off to the loading dock of our emergency shelter, accessible from the west side of 16th Street, just north of Nicholas Street. The dock is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays.
And, if you would like to help support our services to those experiencing homelessness, but are unable to provide these kinds of supplies, we would appreciate it if you would please consider making a monetary donation on our secure website, HERE.
Thank you for your sustained generosity to the Siena Francis House. Your support makes a real and meaningful difference to the thousands of homeless individuals we serve each year - and especially to those who are currently staying in our shelter during this challenging time.
Siena Francis House COVID-19 Preparedness Statement
Siena Francis House is aware that homelessness may place individuals at greater risk of exposure from infectious diseases, including COVID-19. We are committed to preventing and managing the spread of this virus among our guests and staff members.
Prevention & Planning
Siena Francis House is doing its best to prevent transmission of the virus by implementing the following:
• Infection control measures that include vigorous and frequent disinfection in all facilities, particularly in “high touch” areas.
• Mandatory education for staff on disease transmission, proper handwashing and use of personal protective equipment
• Trauma-informed communication with guests around prevention and procedures
• Coordination of care for guests experiencing illness
• Contingency plan for meal service
• Contingency plan for volunteer service
Response to Infection
Siena Francis House leadership has a detailed response for guests who become ill from COVID-19. The following is included in this plan:
• Identification of community partners and resources for testing and care of ill individuals
• Relocation and quarantine of ill individuals, if necessary
• Personal protective equipment for staff who may be assisting ill individuals
• Reporting of suspected or known cases as recommended by the Douglas County Health Department