Community Human Services: Emergency Shelter

For many of Community Human Services’ (CHS) team members, the threat of COVID-19 has led to increased teleworking. But that’s not an option for CHS’s frontline staff, who work in emergency shelters and with clients who need 24/7 care in residential facilities.

The potential for exposure to COVID-19 is real. One staff member who works in CHS’s Home 2020 emergency shelter was exposed to the disease, but ultimately tested negative. The staff member used his experience as an opportunity to educate residents and clients on the risks and walked them through what it was like taking the test and how a positive result might have impacted his life. This led to residents better understanding, and participating in, both the organizational precautions CHS has been taking and the precautions recommended for residents themselves.

“Every resident made it a point to tell me that they were glad that I was back,” said the staff member, “and that the test was negative. From there, much of our conversation shifted to measures we would take proactively to make sure we all remained safe and healthy. More than anything else, those conversations showed me that the working relationships that I’ve formed since Home 2020 [the emergency shelter] opened are valuable and meaningful to everybody involved and they are tremendously important when trying to be effective at my job.”