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This article was published in the Times Record on November 13, 2020 and written by Blaine Flanders, the Community & Donor Relations Coordinator at Tedford Housing. Find the newspaper article here.
Around the Brunswick area, community members are beginning to gear up for the upcoming holidays. Shops put items on sale, donors are engaging their charities and nonprofits are busier than ever. During this holiday season, Tedford Housing staff also become busier than normal in order to accommodate the influx in community engagement, but more importantly, the increase in need as the months grow colder.
In order to combat the rising need during the colder months, Tedford Housing has decided to recognize National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week from Nov. 15-22 to raise awareness in the community for Tedford Housing and our mission. Individuals and families, now more than ever, need community support due to the pandemic and winter quickly approaching. The goal of this awareness week is to awaken the community to the growing need among our neighbors.
Throughout National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week, Tedford Housing is hosting multiple pandemic-friendly events. On Nov. 16, Community Awareness Day, look for “We Support Tedford Housing” signs around the community. These signs have been staked by some of Tedford’s business supporters who are committed to our mission. Two Days of Action, on Nov. 20 and 21, will engage a few loyal volunteers in the community to rake leaves at the emergency family shelter and sort donations before the holidays.
Tedford Housing is partnering with Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program for two of the week’s events, including Advocacy Day and the Q&A Session with Executive Directors Rota Knott and Karen Parker. Advocacy Day, on Nov. 18, is a chance to make your voice heard. Anyone in the community can request and send these pre-paid postcards. The back of the postcard says, “Did you know it is National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week?”, in order to stimulate conversation and awareness to whomever the card is sent. If you would like to request postcards, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Q&A video will be available on social media on November 19th to answer all of the questions asked over the past few weeks.
Despite the warm weather that was here this week, Thanksgiving is still right around the corner. Tedford Housing is partnering with the Brunswick Rotary Club and Pathway Vineyard Church, in Brunswick and Lewiston, to gift holiday cheer among Tedford’s individual and family clients. Both the Brunswick Rotary Club and Pathway Vineyard Church have been long-term supporters of Tedford’s holiday gifting program, and have made a real impact on our clients and guests the past several years. Rotary members donate gift cards to each of Tedford’s individuals so they can purchase food for Thanksgiving, while parishioners create Thanksgiving Bags for Tedford’s families to cook their own meal.
Last month, Beci Turner, a Tedford supporter, sponsored a holiday gifting drive for Tedford’s families through Usborne Books. All of the money raised will purchase books that will be gifted to children of all ages this Christmas. The books will be distributed during the Christmas Store held in early December that is hosted by Pathway Vineyard Church in Brunswick. The Christmas Store hosts not only Tedford’s family households, but other families in the community. Tedford Housing’s families who benefit from this Christmas Store include those living at the emergency family shelter, in supportive housing, and those receiving outreach services. Pathway has always made a great impact on families throughout the community by allowing each member of the family to “shop” at the store and select items to gift other family members. Watching families who are experiencing homelessness hand-select unique gifts for their children and loved ones is a magical experience. The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation and The Emergency Action Network have graciously donated gifts to the Christmas Store this year. To help Tedford’s families this Christmas, please visit our website or social media for more information on holiday gifting.Advertisement
As the months get colder, many of us tend to think of the holidays, but for some members of the community this time of year brings anxious questions of, “What if I don’t have enough clothing to keep me warm tonight?” or “Where is the warmest place to sleep outside in this town?” Help us change that conversation by raising awareness in our community. Community engagement and partnerships strengthen Tedford Housing’s mission to empower people to move from homelessness to home. Tedford appreciates those who are already involved in the conversation, and we look forward to those who will join us next.–
There are several more strong connections not mentioned above that Tedford has in the community, and we appreciate everyone who currently supports our organization and our mission. For any questions about Tedford Housing’s community engagement, volunteering, or making a gift, please contact me at email@example.com or call (207)729-1161 ext. 101.
Written by Rota Knott, Executive Director for Tedford Housing. Effective November 6th, 2020.
Tedford Housing is enhancing its COVID-19 protocols to ensure the continued health, safety, and welfare of our guests, tenants, outreach clients, and staff during the pandemic. These new protocols are applicable at all Tedford Housing facilities.
Effective immediately Tedford Housing has implemented the following COVID-19 safety protocols:
- Staff will wear a face covering when at work in all common spaces at all Tedford Housing facilities. Face coverings are not required when working alone in a private office or similar space.
- Staff will follow state protocols that require the wearing of face coverings in all public spaces, both indoor and outdoor, in Maine when conducting official Tedford Housing business. This includes when participating in off-site client outreach or other professional meetings.
- Guests at the Adult Shelter will wear a face covering in all indoor and outdoor common areas, except when eating or in the designated outdoor smoking area.
- Guests at the Family Shelter will wear a face covering in all indoor and outdoor common areas, except when in the designated outdoor smoking area. Guests are not required to wear face coverings in their individual units.
- Outreach clients will wear a face covering at all times during both on-site and off-site appointments. On-site appointments with outreach clients with be limited to a maximum of four members of a single household.
- All Tedford Housing offices, shelters, and supportive housing buildings will remain closed to the general public. Volunteers will be limited to a maximum of four per on-site volunteer activity.
- Only staff and guests will be permitted to enter the shelters without permission of the director of operations or executive director.
- Shelter guests with a fever or other symptoms will be referred for medical care, and must show a negative Covid-19 test with clearance by a medical professional in order to reenter the shelter.
- Staff members who have a fever or other symptoms or who have a symptomatic member of their household will be referred for medical care. Staff must show a negative COVID-19 test with clearance by a medical professional in order to return to work.
- Non-shelter staff will work remotely as necessary and approved by their immediate supervisor. Access by staff to multiple facilities will be limited.
During the time that Tedford Housing is exercising COVID-19 protocols in our shelters, the following steps will be taken when intakes are being conducted and specifically relate to the prevention of transmission of COVID-19. These steps are in addition to the standard intake procedures in place at the adult and family shelters.
Until further notice, the adult shelter capacity will not exceed 10 guests. The family shelter will continue to serve six families in individual apartments.
- All persons seeking shelter access will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of intake.
- All persons seeking access will be asked screening questions at intake. These include:
- Have they had a new and worsening cough?
- Have they had a fever?
- Have they experienced a recent loss of taste or smell?
- In the last two weeks have they been exposed to or have been in close proximity to anybody that has tested positive for COVID-19?
For families seeking access, these questions will apply to all family members seeking access.
Individuals or family members responding yes to any of the above questions will be referred for medical care, and must show a negative COVID-19 test with clearance by a medical professional in order to reenter the shelter.
- All persons seeking access will have their temperature taken before access is granted. Individuals or family members with a temperature above normal (98.6) will be referred for medical care, and must show a negative COVID-19 test with clearance by a medical professional in order to reenter the shelter.
Tedford Housing will continue to operate our Adult Shelter 24 hours a day to ensure our guests have a safe place be while the statewide State of Emergency remains in place. The Adult Shelter will not close and guests will not be asked to leave during the daytime as is our typical protocol.
At our Adult Shelter, Family Shelter and supportive housing complexes, our guests and residents are asked to continue practicing extreme social distancing with a 6-foot minimum separation as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. Case management for our guests and outreach clients will be handled remotely by staff as needed.
Tedford Housing may opt to alter our shelter operations at any time. For additional information, contact Rota L. Knott, Executive Director.
This article was published in the Times Record on 18 September 2020, and was written by Blaine Flanders, Tedford Housing’s Community & Donor Relations Coordinator.
Today, we are living through one of the most intrusive medical circumstances in history, which is devastating America’s most vulnerable population. COVID-19 exacerbates the health risks faced by the homeless population, with implications that will likely remain long after the pandemic subsides. Right now, organizations helping people experiencing homelessness are unsure how this will change what it means to be “homeless,” but we recognize that change will happen.
Homeless individuals and families make up the most underserved community across the U.S. The most difficult problems facing those experiencing homelessness are income, housing, food insecurity and medical care. While on the surface these issues sound the same as the issues affecting this community prior to the pandemic, but the circumstantial problems around these issues continue to compound with time. The pandemic continues to put pressure on the entirety of the U.S. population and those experiencing homelessness.
Undoubtedly, housing is the number one problem for those experiencing homelessness, as housing is necessary for all other attributes of life. One needs a place to rest, eat and bathe. The region of southern Midcoast Maine has some of the highest housing costs in Maine, and these costs have only skyrocketed since the pandemic outbreak in March. This increase continues to diminish the area’s affordable housing market, and those with low income or who are experiencing homelessness are being pushed out. Some communities provide more services for those experiencing homelessness than other communities. But without those services, where would they go?
Approximately 550,000 people are homeless in the U.S. right now. However, studies show that number does not accurately represent the true amount of homelessness across our country, as many homeless are considered hidden. This likely changed at the beginning of the pandemic in March, as couch-surfers were kicked to the curb. Many friends and families wanted to protect their own households from the unknown dangers of the coronavirus. And while there has been a moratorium on evictions, that no doubt is helping many stay in their own homes, the expected number of homeless is sure to rise across the southern Midcoast region, the state of Maine and the entire country now that the moratorium ended last month. There have been no studies showing an increase in homeless numbers since the moratorium ended in August, but if the cases are filed, many people will have nowhere to go but the streets.
COVID-19 has created an imbalance in community organizations and programs compared to before the pandemic. Existing programs and services are not filling the current need of the Mid Coast Maine homeless and at-risk populations. Organizations have all reacted differently to the coronavirus, causing there to be unmet needs in the community. There are unmet needs because of the inequality to access in services. If one organization increases or decreases their services to a community, there is an imbalance to other organizations nurturing the same vulnerable community. The needs of Maine’s homeless population have changed since COVID-19, but the availability of services has also changed.
Even before the pandemic outbreak, southern Midcoast Maine had been assisting those experiencing homelessness and at-risk populations to the best of their ability, but it is not quite enough to assist all homeless individuals and families. The number of people experiencing homelessness has always outweighed the services available.
Today, through the partnerships between Tedford Housing, Oasis Free Clinics, Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program and The Gathering Place, our community continues to respond to the basic needs of southern Midcoast Maine’s vulnerable and at-risk populations. Despite the many logistical and social distancing challenges brought about by COVID-19, people experiencing homelessness in the area have still been able to access services from our community organizations, as we work together to produce long-term solutions despite the pandemic. Tedford Housing anticipates there will be an increase in the homeless population in the near future, but supported by our robust partnerships, we will be ready to tackle the new challenges ahead. —