The Saint Francis Center (SFC) continues to serve up to 400 people daily, even in the midst of on-going transitions and challenges due to COVID-19. We would like to update you, our friends and supporters, on adjustments SFC is making to ensure guests, staff and volunteers are thriving while staying safe and healthy.
Core Services (formerly Basic Services) has moved back to the Day Center at 2323 Curtis Street after temporarily relocating services to two neighboring buildings this summer. The relocation improved social distancing for guests during the peak of COVID-19 and allowed for renovations to be completed at the day center site. Renovations, which included expanding the women’s bathroom, Intake office and Health and Wellness office, and replacing the roof, have been nearly completed, allowing most services to resume at the day center.
The Denver Rescue Mission has transitioned to a 24/7 shelter and, due to limited staff capacity, has temporarily stopped servicing meals at Lawrence Street. St. Francis Center has been asked to help fill the gap by providing lunch every day of the week. Volunteers from Catholic Worker Soup Kitchen and Women’s Homeless Initiative have made this effort possible by preparing and delivering hundreds of sack lunches every day.
SFC volunteers have also returned to the day center, some of whom were asked by SFC to temporarily suspend their service due to COVID-19. SFC has begun to welcome back some of these low-risk volunteers and continues to welcome new volunteers to the day center.
With guests, staff and volunteers returning to a new normal, SFC has made masks in the center mandatory for everyone who enters the building and is providing safety gear (masks, gloves, face shields) for those who need them. The Core Services team screens all guests entering the building as well. Staff and volunteers are also screened when arriving for their shifts.
This summer the SFC Outreach team has focused on the many unsheltered encampments in the Ballpark, Curtis Park, and Capitol Hill neighborhoods. The team has connected many unsheltered community members with COVID-19 testing conducted through the Denver Department of Health. The Outreach team has also engaged unsheltered residents at both Veterans Park and Morey Middle School ahead of the encampment clean ups, helping direct dozens of vulnerable community members into Protective Action motels set up by the city, and assisted dozens of community members into permanent housing solutions.
In June, SFC Employment Services relocated its offices from the Warren Methodist Church to the nearby Althea Center. Employment Services staff continue to assist guests with any job related needs, from resume building to transportation assistance. SFC staff screen all guests entering the building, and provides masks and hand sanitizer.
Residents of Cornerstone Apartments, the Senior Program, and Cathedral Square Residences are also asked to wear masks in all public areas of their buildings and practice social distancing. Masks are provided for those who are not wearing them and Cornerstone has created mask-wearing incentives to encourage residents in the practice.
The SFC housing programs are continuing to provide food bank delivery to residents. Cathedral Square is now allowing visitors inside the building during the day and starting to gather residents together. Each week a community floor meeting is held (rather than a full community meeting with all the residents) to check in, discuss COVID-19 concerns and ongoing safety protocol, and discuss moving forward with fun activities, safely in the future.
PATH Luncheon and Gala Ahead
We also want to thank each of you who participated in and gave during the virtual PATH Luncheon earlier this month. Because of your generosity we were able to meet the $50,000 match! The money raised goes directly to SFC housing projects including its newest project, the Warren Residences that will house up to 48 working men and women transitioning out of homelessness.
And stay tuned for more information about SFC’s annual gala fundraiser later this fall! We will be gathering together, virtually, to celebrate SFC’s achievements and work together to raise funds needed to continue supporting our community members experiencing homelessness.
Guest Success Story
Sandra, who had fled an abusive relationship from out of state, came to Denver looking for safety and help. However, when she first arrived in Denver, all the domestic violence shelters were full so she had to stay at the Denver Coliseum, a 24-7 women’s shelter set up during the peak of COVID-19. Sandra was directed to the SFC Day Center, seeking housing assistance with first month’s rent and a security deposit. SFC staff at the day center connected Sandra with SFC Employment Services case management to help her find a job and staff assisted her with getting on SNAP and Medicaid. SFC also told her if she found a place to live SFC would be able to assist with move-in costs. With support from SFC, Sandra found a full-time job, a place to live and SFC paid her first month’s rent and security deposit.
Your generosity makes helping guests like Sandra possible. Thank you so much for supporting us through this these past months with your donations, service, prayer, and encouragement. This work of transformation couldn’t be done without you!
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 Ellie at firstname.lastname@example.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.
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 email@example.com