Helping those who come to us for help
How can we help those who come to us for help in these times of quarantine? For the time being, do not visit people in their homes. Conduct all business as much as possible over the phone. Conduct lengthy interviews and help your friends work through their problems as to urgency and alternative (other than SVDP) means to solving their needs. Voice of the Poor material can offer some guidance. You can find out more about it here: Voice of the Poor
Can they maintain their current status for the time being? Recently, I had a case where a single mother with two children was displaced by a fire and was living with her mother. She has a new apartment to move into but that apartment is totally unfurnished and she needs everything. I suggested she visit the county’s office of emergency assistance. She did visit and was denied. I then called Neighborhood Legal Services who had a staffer call her and help her with the case–she needs to appeal their decision–but the county may be restricting new cases due to the C19 situation. So I recommended the client be patient and stay with her mother until such time as the request from the county can be resolved. She agreed.Does the client need appliances? Check with vendors to see if they are still open for business, but it’s not likely.
For the time being, our store is closed. We are determining if personnel are to be laid off per the governor’s order. But, as of right now, we will have some personnel working early next week in the warehouse and we are trying to figure out if we can make emergency only deliveries of goods from our store stock. But for now, do not write any vouchers for our store.
Do they need food? If you have gift cards for a supermarket, mail them. Check for the food pantries around them to see if they are still open (look them up on your computer for the client’s benefit). The Buffalo Public Schools have a surplus of breakfasts and lunches. Each Friday, beginning yesterday, the surplus will be provided to families at the 28 Grab and Go sites. Please share this information with any family member, neighbor or friends with children. The children need not attend a BPS school.
What other services might they need? Do the research for them. Start with 2-1-1 and check out what services there are. Tell them they do not have to worry about utility shutoffs or evictions during the emergency. Encourage them to follow the Department of Health guidelines. If they have phones paid for by Lifeline and have limited time allowance, encourage them to ration their time on the phone so they have minutes left in case of emergency.