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Covid-19 impact

From: domainremoved <Bart>
Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2020 23:47:57 +0000

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Dear Mayor and Councilmembers,

FYI, several of our funders have been asking us about the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic is having on our clients and our agency. This is for your consideration, as Im sure Menlo Park will be interested in helping.

Thanks for considering the concerns of Samaritan House in meeting the needs of Menlo Park residents. We are the Lead Core Agency for San Mateo County and we can be very helpful in organizing responses, conveying information in both directions. We are the safety net leader, and these are the currently known and anticipated impacts:
1) We have had to cancel our one major fundraising event for the year, and this will mean a substantial loss of critically needed revenue for us. It is unlikely that we can recover most of the deficit this will create. We are attempting to postpone until mid-June, but that may not work out. Since we are 67% dependent upon public fundraising (not government) this is a major hit to our budget!
2) Since we run both a health service and a social service that is designated to be an emergency food operation for disasters, we are having to make alternative plans for serving clients in both areas. In the event of a major local epidemic, or closure of any of our facilities due to exposure, or quarantine of any of our key staff, this will be highly difficult, maybe even impossible to implement. Right now we have a set of extra protocols in place to mitigate the risk.
3) We are highly volunteer dependent for our labor force. We have had a significant fall off in volunteerism due to the Covid-19 precautions. Most of our regular volunteers are in the senior age group at higher risk. Some services, such as the Kids Closet, may have to reduce hours in the immediate term. We are hoping it does not create fall off in our Food programs or our Free Clinics, which are vital.
4) Quite a bit of our Food & Nutrition services deliver to congregate dining sites and homes of seniors and after school programs for school children, including newly opening school delivery in Ravenswood School District. That makes us extra careful about what and who we send out there, but it also may increase our risk of exposure. The one thing people who may be quarantined (by self or direction of authorities) will need the most will be that food.
5) Our largest operations are all directed toward preventing homelessness, including the Core Agency Case Management and Coordinated Entry System. These all work on directing funds toward keeping people housed. While we can perform some of these services electronically the safety net the economic impact on the low income households we serve due to the economic contractions AND personal loss of wages is likely to stretch these funds and services to the limits or beyond.
6) Our Safe Harbor Shelter is part of the network of homelessness remediation services. The exposure risk for these types of services is VERY high. We are working with our network and the County to come up with a plan for quarantine of ill homeless, but they have yet to make a final determination.
7) In the event that any of our paid staff have to be quarantined and/or treated, we need to ensure both that they do not come to work and inadvertently expose all our clients, volunteers and staff, plus we are at a loss as to how to cover the loss of income to them that will be crushing. While we have generous sick leave for all paid workers over 20 hours, two weeks of quarantine would exceed most of their accumulated leaves. They are already at the margins of what it takes financially to live here, and we cannot afford to lose our key staff, who right now do a mighty job of leveraging the labor of almost 4,000 volunteers.

So things dont look very good right now and were acting on everything we can anticipate, but are likely to be short the resources we will need.

Please feel free to call me for any information or collaborations.?


Bart A. Charlow
Samaritan House
Received on Wed Mar 11 2020 - 16:50:38 PDT

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