Updated: May 4, 2020
To Our Wonderful Community,
Community CARES understands that “sheltering in place” for those experiencing homelessness or near homelessness is a tremendously difficult but necessary situation to navigate. The sudden impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching effects on CARES and those we serve. Our current program model did not provide adequate space to safely shelter our large population of men, women and children. The idea of completely closing our doors was not an option. Literally, lives were depending on us, and we knew we needed to find another way. It is in times like these that we find out what we are truly capable of doing. Therefore, along with the support of our community, we sprang into action.
Community CARES’ incredible staff, along with many generous community partners, have worked hard to find solutions during this unfathomable pandemic. We are thankful that our residents are currently able to shelter in place at the Stuart Community Center and continue to eat healthy meals prepared by a loving community of volunteers and organizations. At the same time, the CARES Resource Center at 50 W. Penn Street is able to be a hygiene and comfort station for those without shelter because we understand the need for clean hygiene practices, especially during this time. Our Cumberland Street Reach (Outreach) team is hard at work assisting those throughout Cumberland County who are facing housing insecurity or loss. We are seeking to increase our Homeless Prevention Fund, to help keep households affected by COVID-19 from losing their homes. In short, we are striving to be the most effective emergency homeless service that we can be for Cumberland County.
We are very aware of the impacts COVID-19 is having on our entire community increased unemployment and pay reductions are leading to housing and food insecurity, and other financial uncertainty. The social impacts and toll the quarantine is having are affecting families in ways they never thought possible and has led to increasing domestic violence and substance abuse, an uptick in calls to crisis regarding anxiety and depression, and general uncertainty of the future. All of this may contribute to the increase in the homeless rates as well.
As the effects of this pandemic unfold over the next weeks and months, Community CARES is committed to continue its work to be a solution of hope. Our three focuses coming out of this pandemic are:
1. Acquire a facility capable of servicing the needs of those we shelter while providing safe social distancing.
2. Increase our Homeless Prevention Fund to support those that fall behind during COVID-19, and provide reassurance for them to rebuild.
3. Continue to build Cumberland Street Reach efforts and partnerships with agencies throughout Cumberland County.
Our community needs to be prepared for this. Community CARES needs to be prepared for this. In short, Community CARES needs your help to prepare for this.
#GivingTuesdayNow is a global campaign which runs from May 5 through May 26. It marks a period when people around the world are given a chance to stand together in unity to help nonprofits in need. If you are able to give, please consider donating to Community CARES. We are in this together and we will get through it together. Thank you for being a COMMUNITY that CARES.
Stay safe and healthy,
Executive Director, Community CARES
March 27, 2020
While the rest of our community is doing what it can to adhere to social distancing practices, including temporary closings, at Community CARES, our doors remain open to one of the most vulnerable populations, those experiencing homelessness. Many of our residents have an increased likelihood of chronic medical conditions (such as diabetes, asthma, and hypertension), that put them at higher risk for COVID-19. Since many local agencies and businesses have had to close their doors or severely limit their services for the immediate future, this makes our need even greater, as our residents have limited or no access to many of the supports that they require on a daily basis.