Dear YWCA Family,
One month ago, like most of you, I could have never imagined entire states and most of the country on lockdown. We would have never thought there would be scarcity of food and basic home necessities. And how could we have prepared for the enormous changes in our everyday lives as we now navigate working from home, learning at home and accepting social distancing as a new and necessary way of life?
Despite these unprecedented challenges, even a global pandemic could not stop YWCA’s service to our community. Because of the work of our courageous and dedicated staff and supporters, we have removed barriers of distance, finances and connectivity to find real-time solutions that, in some cases, were a matter of life and death
Our domestic violence shelter, always at capacity, continues to be a safe haven for survivors. Our crisis hotline is still staffed by local advocates 24 hours per day, seven days per week, to answer calls from community members experiencing violence at the hands of partners and others while isolated at home (614 calls in March alone). Our case advocates continue to assist with protective orders, case management, therapy, translation and connecting survivors to resources and assistance. The need continues to rise.
Just last week, a survivor we housed who had experienced decades of abuse and who was sleeping on floors and in her car was able to move into permanent supportive housing in just six short days from referral. Another survivor and her children in a very dangerous situation were permanently housed within 24 hours of her plea for help.
Women’s Cancer Program, once heavily dependent on an overabundance of healthcare information and paperwork combined ingenuity and hard work to ensure clients are served because we know cancer doesn’t take a break. While many medical providers have suspended screening and wellness appointments, most are still providing diagnostic services. Last week this team worked together to ensure a teenager with a suspected cancer diagnosis received immediate service. By connecting resources, providing translation services and offering financial assistance, this young person and their family were supported and reassured.
Endless stories abound among our team who are stepping up to meet new challenges head-on and to take on additional responsibilities that cross the boundaries of departments and job descriptions. Despite antiquated technology, our team has adapted to rolling schedules designed to mitigate virus spread. They’re finding workarounds to keep YWCA going – financially, programmatically, physically. Read the Mission Moment to learn more about our operations and the measures we are taking.
Funders have released restrictions and we have received support from our friends, but we are still apprehensive about the long-term effects of this pandemic and we continue to need your help. Still we press on.
Although our buildings are closed to visitors, our hearts and hands continue to be wide open for our community. We look forward to the time when we can all be together again.
President & CEO