While the State of California is under a “shelter-in-place” mandate, PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) and PATH Ventures (PV) are considered essential “frontline” services. Therefore, we are keeping our services operating during this time. This means our staff are still reporting to work—providing street outreach, operating interim housing facilities, performing case management for people in homes, recruiting landlords, and providing the support tasks (e.g., finances, human resources, and operations) to keep our programs going.
PATH operates nine interim housing facilities (1,100 beds), 14 supportive housing buildings, street outreach across four counties, case management for nearly 4,000 people in homes, and serves 20 percent of California’s homeless population.
COVID-19 has upended everyday life. California’s 150,000+ unhoused residents are at higher risk due to their housing, health, and economic instability. Our top priority is the safety of our homeless population and the staff that serve them.
Due to increased service needs, extra safety precautions, increased “hazard” pay for frontline staff, and reduction in volunteers and food donations, our greatest need is an increase in flexible funding to adapt to this difficult environment and to remain sustainable.
Given the urgency of this crisis, PATH and PV are taking swift, transparent, and responsive action, adhering to evolving recommendations from the CDC and city, county, and state public health departments.
However, we are seeing our capacity narrow. We have responsively developed a statewide strategy that calls on our stakeholders—who are also feeling the weight of the global pandemic—to collaboratively aid our community in its greatest time of need.
Our Commitment to Serving our Homeless Population and to our Community’s Safety and Well-being:
- Continue to provide critical services to our most vulnerable neighbors.
- Our frontline staff are on the streets providing individuals with vital resources, referrals, and hygiene supplies (e.g., hand sanitizer, wipes).
- PATH’s interim housing sites are continuing to offer respite from the streets, case management, and on-site services.
- We are providing personal and social enrichment opportunities to our interim housing residents as they follow the shelter-in-place order.
- We have activated inclement weather beds in regions experiencing rain and cold.
- We are increasing existing support to concerned tenants in PV’s affordable and supportive housing, ensuring they remain housed through this crisis.
- Continue to enforce safety protocols with our staff, homeless population, and community.
- We have increased already rigorous cleaning/disinfection plans with more janitorial staff and sanitation supplies for all sites and vehicles.
- Our leaders and staff continue to be nimble and aligned with evolving CDC and public health guidelines.
- We are training staff on CDC protocol and clearly posting materials at our sites.
- We are educating staff on how to detect COVID-19 symptoms and how to implement immediate protocols such as who to contact for public health support.
- We have reached out to staff considered at higher risk by the CDC (e.g., older adults, medical conditions), parents, and caretakers to accommodate needs.
- We created an advanced paid leave policy and encouraged use of paid time off.
- We have halted all non-essential visitors and tours at our sites.
- Assembled a PATH Cares Emergency Staff Task Force to make important decisions.
- Convened a Task Force and statewide leadership group that meets via video multiple times per week to track and address COVID-19’s developments.
- Shares updates from our program frontlines.
- Implements (and updates as needed) our emergency safety plan.
- Implements (and updates as needed) our policies and procedures as the environment changes and as new public health mandates are made public.
- Continue funder dialogue to ensure flexible resources are available to act nimbly with the increase need for our services, and the loss of revenue and in-kind support. Emerging needs are:
- Overtime and “hazard” pay for frontline staff, currently unfunded by our sources.
- New food vendors/supply as we halt volunteer activities and food donations that are not manufacture-sealed or prepared in a certified commercial kitchen.
- Increased need for janitorial services and sanitization supplies to increase cleanliness and prevent the spread of illness in our sites and on the streets.
- Increased needs for our formerly homeless tenants to help them stay in their homes (e.g., food, hygiene supplies), access healthcare and medical protective gear, and remain socially enriched (e.g., activities, books) to prevent isolation.
PATH and PV are humbled by the outpouring of support and action from our philanthropic and community partners to serve Californians experiencing homelessness. Our increased collaboration will save lives. We are deeply grateful to you.
To support PATH and PATH Ventures, please contact [email protected]