A Message from Hilda Fernandez, CEO
With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting everyday life, I wanted to reach out to see how you are doing and send wishes for good health and peace. At Camillus House, we adapted to these unprecedented circumstances and continue to serve the hungry and the homeless with the same commitment to our mission as always. However, in order to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our community’s homeless population, in particular the 1,100 individuals and families in our residential programs, and hundreds of street homeless under our care, we’ve made necessary modifications to our programming that we’d like to share with you.
At Camillus House, most of our programming aligns with COVID-19 response efforts, including our own emergency response plan, but we’re doubling down on this work. We continue to serve the on-the-street homeless by offering meals, mail, showers and access to other services through our Day Center, in a safe manner. We continue to provide case management and clinical services to our clients while following social distancing protocols, a challenge but we’re succeeding. And we safely proceed with providing stabilizing medication and clinical services to the severely mentally ill street homeless through our specialized Lazarus outreach team – now including mobile testing of these highly vulnerable individuals for COVID-19.
We continue to accept new clients into our programs, after proper screening, as we know they are safer with us than on the streets. And while “Safe Sheltering” for our emergency and treatment program residents at our main campus has the increased need for food and other critical services, we are thankful for the generous produce and meal donations, including our renown Camillus Casserole program, that allows us to prepare and serve more than 1,000 meals daily. Weekly health screenings, implementing enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols, a focus on preventive measures and social distancing – from masks for all clients, to wash stations throughout our main campus, PPEs for our staff, and testing for those over age 65 and at risk, has meant an additional challenge for our amazing staff who come in each day understanding that what they do isn’t only essential, for our clients it can be lifesaving.
The ability to keep everyone safe and protected is fueled by our increased efforts, nonstop work and the generous support of community partners, companies and special individuals like you. Together, with faith and not fear, we will get through this difficult time. Today and always, you are in our thoughts and prayers.
On behalf of the Hospitaller Brothers of Saint John of God and everyone at Camillus, thank you for helping make our House a safe home for the homeless. May God bless you and your loved ones.