Since our last update to you on March 25th, we have been busy in our continued fight to address the impact of COVID-19 in our community.
We are facing an extreme challenge as a nation, as a community, and as individuals. The approximately 10,000 individuals who are currently homeless in our community are vulnerable. By virtue of being unhoused, they cannot defend themselves from community spread. And too many are additionally susceptible due to chronic illnesses, such as asthma and diabetes.
HomeFirst is doing all we can to confront the threat of the novel coronavirus head-on and prevent our network of human services from being critically and fatally overwhelmed. To this end we have partnered with the City of San Jose to open two additional 24-hour emergency shelters in downtown San Jose.
The two new shelters in San Jose will provide an additional 175 beds to our unhoused community and help us maintain social distancing across all sites. We’d like to thank the City of San Jose for the speed and compassion they have shown in helping prepare these new shelters. The shelter in Parkside Hall (pictured), located behind The Tech, received its first guests this Wednesday, April 1st, and the shelter at South Hall of the San Jose Convention Center will begin accepting guests next week.
We have increased sanitation and safety protocols at our shelters, purchased and installed sanitizing UV-C lights and high-grade air filters. This upgraded equipment is another step towards reducing risk for our guests and staff. We remain steadfast in our attempt to obtain additional protective gear for our frontline staff. And are closely monitoring the health of each person at our shelter locations.
As you can imagine, our response is impacting our budget greatly. We need to staff and supply not only the additional two new shelter sites, but we’ve extended operations of our primarily overnight shelters, and our seasonal cold weather shelters. We need help off-setting the cost and stress of supplying our shelters with supplies not often thought about in program contracts
We know you can make amazing things happen. We’ve seen you in action! We are asking for you to help us care for our most exposed neighbors during this crisis, by ordering and shipping these items our admin office at 507 Valley Way, Milpitas, CA 95035 or donating monetarily to us today!
Uni-sex white, cotton T-shirts, all sizes
Elastic-waist sweatpants, all sizes
Men's and women’s underwear, all sizes
Your support has been a buoy to everyone here at HomeFirst, especially our shelter staff who are truly first-line responders to this crisis. They are dedicated to keeping our community safe and I am humbled by their courage and focus. The donations that we have received in our staff’s honor since this outbreak began have filled my heart with gratitude that, in addition to those we serve, you have not forgotten us either. Thank you.
As always, be safe and stay healthy.