For 70 years, Father Joe’s Villages has been the leader in providing emergency services to people experiencing homelessness in San Diego. Now, Father Joe’s Villages is implementing an emergency response to COVID-19 to protect the health and safety of our neighbors, volunteers and staff.
The Vulnerability of our Neighbors
Life on the streets is more difficult than most of us can imagine. Individuals experiencing homelessness are more vulnerable than the general population.
Sadly, this means that our neighbors experiencing homelessness are more likely to experience negative outcomes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While most of us will be able to stay safe or recover in our homes, our neighbors experiencing homelessness face additional challenges:
- Weakened immune systems resulting in an increased risk of serious illness.
- Less access to preventative hygiene practices, such as hand washing and sanitation.
- Close, and often unsanitary, living conditions in encampments in our canyons and streets.
- No safe place to recover if illness is contracted.
Our Services are More Critical Than Ever
Right now, this is an evolving situation. With reports of Covid-19 (the disease caused by coronavirus) increasing, we are in frequent contact with local authorities and actively implementing emergency response plans to best protect the health and safety of our clients, staff and volunteers.
Continuing Critical Services
While California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order to California residents, Father Joe’s Villages has been deemed an emergency service and will continue to provide health care, meals, shelter and more to those who need it most.
At this time, we are providing the following critical care to neighbors in need:
- Crucial shelter and housing to over 2,100 neighbors in need each night. Learn More >>
- Daily to-go meals to those who are hungry through our Franklin Antonio Public Lunch Program and to residents in our shorter-term shelter programs. We have increased our food service locations to Hillcrest and downtown and now offer breakfast, lunch and dinner to the public. Learn More >>
- We are continuing to offer showers and laundry through the San Diego Day Center. Learn More >>
- And, we are providing critical health care services, screening and assessment for COVID-19 through our Village Health Center and Street Health program. Learn More >>
- Our Therapeutic Childcare team is working with families to ensure that they have the tools they need to succeed in school. They are also providing limited child care services to children of essential workers.
- Father Joe’s Villages is working with the County and City of San Diego to provide safe shelter and emergency services to up to 486 people through the Convention Center shelter. Learn More >>
- Our Outreach Team continues to travel out into the community to focus on disseminating accurate health information and resources to people living on the streets. They are also connecting people in need to the Convention Center shelter, implementing up to 30 intakes a day. Learn More >>
By offering health care, nutritious meals and housing to those who are most vulnerable, we are working to avert a health crisis before it begins. The best thing we can do to ensure the health of our community is continue to work toward ending homelessness, one life at a time.
Father Joe’s Villages is unique in that we are the only provider in San Diego that also operates a Federally Qualified Health Center. This integration of homeless services and health care means we have been able to proactively screen and test residents and community members and rapidly isolate people who present symptoms of COVID-19.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis:
- The Village Health Center screening for symptoms of for COVID-19 for every patient upon entry into the waiting room.
- Village Health Center clinicians are screening, alongside County Public Health RNs, residents of Father Joe’s Villages shelters to proactively identify possible COVID-19.
- On a daily basis, our Village Health Center offers essential medical, dental and behavioral health care to people in need.
- Father Joe’s Villages frontline medical staff is providing critical health care to residents of the San Diego Convention Center shelter onsite, regardless of which homeless services organization provides residential services to them.
Hygiene & Cleaning
Father Joe’s Villages is implementing several tactics to give our neighbors access to CDC recommended hygiene practices and to educate volunteers, neighbors and staff on proper hand hygiene and other tactics to minimize spread.
Father Joe’s Villages has partnered with the County to install additional hand washing stations throughout San Diego. The San Diego Day Center offers showers to people in need 7 days a week.
Father Joe’s Villages is increasing the frequency and intensity of our cleaning efforts, including:
- Utilizing cleaners and disinfectants that kill the Coronavirus.
- Contracting an additional custodial team member whose sole job is to disinfect common areas every 30 minutes.
- Disinfecting countertops, rails, handles and other surfaces every 30 minutes.
- Cleaning our public bathrooms every two hours.