Note: The following message was originally sent in a email to our supporters and published on the H.O.M.E. website on March 17, 2020. After the Illinois stay at home order was issued the following day, H.O.M.E. issued another update informing supporters that our community programs would be suspended until further notice. Both messages are preserved below for context. Current information about H.O.M.E.'s response to COVID-19 can be found at www.homeseniors.org/covid19.
Update March 20, 2020
With the best interests of seniors, H.O.M.E.'s staff, and the greater public in mind, H.O.M.E. is discontinuing the Home Repair, Shopping Bus, and Moving Programs as of today. We will evaluate resumption when Governor Pritzer and Mayor Lightfoot lift the "shelter in place" order that goes into effect on March 21st. If you have any questions, feel free to call Mike Laz, Community Programs Director, at (773) 295-2709 or (773) 882-3733. We wish everyone well. Be safe and find joy in the present moment: making new friends and keeping the old.
March 17, 2020
Dear H.O.M.E. Friends,
We hope you are staying safe and comfortable, and want to update you on what’s happening at H.O.M.E.
What do you do when your mission is all about ending isolation for older Chicagoans but public health mandates require “social distancing”?
What do you do when the services you provide are often the only lifeline for low-income seniors who live alone?
That challenge hit H.O.M.E. as we adjusted operations to deal with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Please check this page frequently for updates on H.O.M.E.’s services.
First and foremost, H.O.M.E. staff are employing all recommended practices for safeguarding themselves and others to prevent transmission of COVID-19.
We are continuing our Home Repair, Shopping Bus, and Moving Programs for the time being. We will evaluate circumstances daily to be sure the community programs do not compromise the health of any seniors or workers. Chicago seniors who use H.O.M.E.’s services depend on them.
- We’ve stocked up on food and supplies, and provided emergency kits to each resident.
- We are enormously grateful to our Resident Assistants, younger adults who live and work part-time in our buildings. They are helping to cook for the senior residents of our Good Life intergenerational shared living communities in both buildings.
- We set new parameters to support and protect residents:
- Social distancing in effect: All group outings and events at the houses have been cancelled. Communal dining for Good Life residents has been discontinued. Only essential visitors such as medical personnel are permitted.
- Social connection: We are, however, working on alternative ways of helping residents stay connected by using phone, email, or video chat with family and friends. The common areas of the building will remain open. Residents have the right to leave their apartments.
- Delivering items for residents: Dropping off wrapped food, games, magazines, or computer tablets for residents is welcomed. If you are unable to shop for items for residents, our staff will get the items for them.
- Extend a friendly email or call to residents to let them know you care. But first contact Nikki Moustafa, Housing Director, NikkiM@HOMEseniors.org or (773) 341-6910, so she can connect you.
- Send paper towels, toilet paper, and bleach wipes. We’re running low!
- Restaurants: Contact us if you have a takeout or delivery service and food to donate.
- Donate to H.O.M.E. to support Chicago’s seniors: We'll be using this money to make sure that our buildings have the food and supplies, including hand sanitizers and wipes, that people need, and that we can continue to keep our programs running.
The best way to fight this virus is not to avoid community, but to come together as a community by showing we care - even if we cannot do it in person for now.
That’s the spirit with which our founders created H.O.M.E. — the idea that to take care of ourselves, we must think also of how we care for each other and our communities.
I believe this virus is revealing to us the interconnectedness of our world in a very personal way. This could not say more about our mission. It makes us that much more grateful for your support — thank you for everything you do for us and for our community to keep people connected.
Do you need help or want more information? Check the City of Chicago’s coronavirus web page, which is updated frequently.
Please check back here for updates. In the meantime, let us know if you have questions or thoughts about our work. I can be reached at GailS@HOMEseniors.org or (773) 295-2711.
Be healthy and safe and remember to take care of yourself, your family and our communities.
Many thanks as always for your support of H.O.M.E., and a Chicago in which seniors are treated with great respect, compassion, and acceptance.