At the beginning of March, we had just about completed a new gym for our residents. But recently, we switched gears to transform it into a medical observation area where new applicants spend a few days before they move into one of our twelve recovery residences. The goal is to make sure they are not sick or carriers of the virus.
In order to do this, we brought on eight new staff members to provide 24-hour a day monitoring. Some of those we brought on were long-term residents who had recently lost their jobs due to the citywide lockdown.
New procedures at the recovery homes and the Recovery Community Center are working to keep the people in our programs safe.
Everyone’s temperature is taken daily, along with special precautions instituted for hand washing and use of sanitizer when residents leave and return to their houses. These same precautions are in place when individuals come for services at the Recovery Community Center.
We have staff members stationed at the front door taking temperatures and making sure hand washing, sanitizing and social distancing are practiced. In our classes and groups, the number of participants is kept to a maximum of ten participants and they are spaced appropriately, 6′ apart.
We’ve suspended outside visitors until further notice. And all weekend and overnight passes are on hold. We are making extra efforts to do deep cleaning and sanitizing in all of our facilities.
In the event that a resident does contract COVID-19, we have plans in place for isolating them to designated rooms until they recover. We have stored up personal protective equipment for those who may end up working with those who contract the virus.
Once the shelter-in-place order went into place in Kansas City, we immediately suspended all large group meetings. This includes our Friday evening fellowship time that has had over 300 people in attendance each week.
Also shut down is our large shared dining hall. As a result, mealtimes, usually a special time of fellowship at Healing House, have changed dramatically. For every meal, we deliver 130 plates to residents at all twelve of our recovery homes. This has been a huge task and we are grateful to our kitchen workers and other staff members who have been involved in making this all happen.
One of the most important things people in recovery find at Healing House is the fellowship. With large group meetings suspended, live-in staff members are leading meetings with residents in the individual houses.
We are also working to keep the community together by continuing to conduct evening meetings virtually, using apps like Zoom and projecting them to large screen TVs in the residences. With this technology all of our group meetings are happening online; Friday evenings Alpha groups, Tuesday’s men’s and women’s support groups, and Sunday’s Healing House community meetings.
Our house managers now have their own laptops, allowing them to communicate digitally and participate in our virtual staff meetings. We’ve also set up extra email lists so we can connect with one another more directly. Counseling and recovery coaching sessions are now being conducted via telehealth. Multiple email groups have also be created to help
In the process, we learned that not all of our residences have the Internet and Wi-Fi to handle all of this virtual activity. So we’ve upgrades at all of them and more are coming.This includes installation of a new high-speed Wi-Fi network at our Cornerstone facility which houses thirty-eight men.
We are providing extra protections to our front line workers in every way. Staff members, including director Bobbi Jo Reed, who are especially vulnerable are working from home.
Please keep us in prayer as we continue to serve those who need our help the most. Our recovery community consists of nearly 200 program participants. Many are experiencing recovery for the first time. Some of them would be homeless now, especially the many who come from correctional institutions and treatment centers.
Your continued support and prayers are needed so we can stay on the frontlines. Thank you so much!