COVID-19 (coronavirus) Update – Friday, May 15, 2020
Hello to each of you, who we are so proud to call our supporters, donors and friends. We sincerely hope this finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe. This update comes with information on how our community is being impacted by Covid-19, news on St. Francis Center (SFC) Day Center renovations, and a welcome to our new Director of Volunteers, Ellie Benjamin.

To get a sense of the risk the guests, volunteers, and staff face when entering the shelter, we recently did a COVID-19 screening for a portion of the guests. The results indicated that 1 in 4 guests, roughly 25%, tested positive and of this group of infected guests over 85% were asymptomatic. Given the nature of the circumstances our guests face every day, living in close proximity to one another, having little options for social distancing, lack of health care, etc., we could see this number increasing in the weeks ahead.

SFC, its partner agencies and the city of Denver have established a process for caring for the guests who have tested positive or who are showing symptoms or who may be at higher risk of infection. These guests are temporarily housed in single occupant hotel rooms around the city, with access to social services, daily meals and medical care.

The SFC team continues to take necessary precautions and actions when facing the impact of COVID-19. Guests are spending most of their time next door at the Asterisk Event Center, which continues to provide a safe space suitable for social distancing.

With the National Guard deployed to serve alongside staff and volunteers at the SFC Day Center, we are able to ensure the much needed services remain available to guests, including the mail and storage station, information desk, intake office. The National Guard deployment also allows our higher risk staff and volunteers to remain safely at home for the time being.

Next week the SFC Day Center will begin three renovation projects. These include expanding the women’s shower/bathroom, expanding the intake office to include more case management space and modifying the storage/mail area to improve the efficiency of services there.

To create more safe spaces for our brothers and sisters without homes, SFC has been working alongside other service providers to develop a plan for a temporary Safe Outdoor Space (SOS) in Denver. This space, open and operated 24/7 by partner agencies, would allow for social distancing for people experiencing homelessness, connecting people to case management services and testing for Covid-19.

Because the city of Denver has not sanctioned the development or funding of the SOS, SFC and its partners are looking into other possible funding options.

And finally, we welcome Ellie Benjamin to SFC as the new Director of Volunteers. Ellie is returning to her home state of Colorado after working in Indiana as the Community Engagement Coordinator at Volunteers of America. Ellie greatly looks forward to building relationships with the SFC community!

We want to thank all of our staff, volunteers, and donors for continuing to make SFC a place of hope, dignity and safety for our guests. We need you all more than ever. We will keep you updated as we continue to make adjustments in the uncertain times ahead. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to call or email to check in.

What St Francis Center needs:

  • If you’re a volunteer at the day center and are not able to cover your volunteer shift, please contact Andrew at andrew@sfcdenver.org or email your day of the week (i.e. Monday@sfcdenver.org.)
  • We need healthy, dedicated people to volunteer at the day center so that we can continue to provide care and support to our guests. If you are would like to volunteer please sign up at http://tiny.cc/ohmglz
  • Financial support during this outbreak is essential to continue our mission. Monetary donations provide us the flexibility to expend resources where they are needed most.
  • IN-KIND SUPPORT

As the situation develops and changes, we will be providing updates. If you have any questions or concerns please contact Andrew Spinks – Director of Development at 303-244-0745 or email at andrew@sfcdenver.org