Note: The following content is archived messages that were previously published on the H.O.M.E. website. Publishing dates are included. Current information about H.O.M.E.'s response to COVID-19 can be found at www.homeseniors.org/covid19.


Update published August 1, 2020

Dear H.O.M.E. Friends,

We know it has been a trying time and we hope you are staying safe and well. As Chicago moved into Phase 4 of re-opening, we want to update you on what’s happening at H.O.M.E. 

As you know, in addition to our three affordable intergenerational housing buildings, our community programs serve low-income seniors throughout Chicago. This includes people from all different backgrounds and neighborhoods, all who share one common factor: they all depend on the services we provide.

Adjusting to the new rules and precautions has been difficult, but our staff has risen to the challenge in order to resume assisting our most vulnerable community members: our seniors.

First and foremost, H.O.M.E. staff are employing practices recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Preventions for safeguarding themselves and others to prevent transmission of COVID-19. In order to comply with recommended safety measures to help keep everyone safe, H.O.M.E. is implementing the following procedures now and until further notice.

Screenings required: Our Moving Coordinator and Home Repair Specialists will ask a set of   COVID-19-related screening questions before scheduling all visits. Shopping Bus riders will also be asked if they have been exposed to anyone diagnosed with the virus or have early signs of the illness. Everyone must submit to a temperature scan at the beginning of all home visits and Shopping Bus trips. We are also asking seniors to let us know if they get sick within five days of responding to these questions.

Safety first: All staff are required to wear face masks and gloves at all times during home visits and Shopping Bus trips. Staff will be provided with hand sanitizer and are required to sanitize their hands frequently as per CDC guidelines.

Shopping bus trips will be limited: Masks and hand sanitizers will be available to any bus riders in need, as masks are required to ride. To allow social distancing of 6 feet or more between people, ridership will be limited to 7 people per trip. We will make more than 1 shopping trip per day to accommodate more riders, however shopping trips may take longer to complete resulting in service time being later than the posted time. 

Keep H.O.M.E. informed: We are asking the households we come in contact with to let us know if they become ill with COVID-19 within 14 days or our visit.

We are enormously grateful to report that all residents in our intergenerational buildings are healthy, with no positive cases of COVID-19.

  • We’ve stocked up on food and supplies, and provided emergency PPE kits which include disposable and reusable masks, as well as hand sanitizer to each resident. Thanks to the generosity of the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund and the Jewish United Fund, H.O.M.E. is able to provide prepared meals to our residents, as well as order groceries for delivery for Upkeep & Repair, Moving, and Shopping Bus seniors upon request.. 
  • Shout out to our Resident Assistants, younger adults who live and work part-time in our buildings. They have been tremendous in embodying the spirit of intergenerational living, helping to cook and shop for groceries as needed for the senior residents of our Good Life shared living communities.
  • We set new parameters to support and protect residents:

Social distancing in effect: All group outings and events at the houses have been cancelled until further notice.  

New safety precautions: Even as "shelter-in-place" has been lifted, we continue to ensure the health and safety of our staff and residents. We have designated areas for residents and staff to gather to talk. Social distancing reminders have also been posted throughout the halls about spacing ourselves 6 feet apart at all times.

Resident hygiene: We will continue to encourage residents to wash their hands according to CDC guidelines as well as bathe and wash their clothes regularly. Hand sanitizer has been made available to the residents along with disposable and reusable masks. All staff are required to wear a mask when interacting with other staff or residents.

  • 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 cleaning supplies, including hand sanitizers and wipes, that people need, and that we can continue to keep our programs running.
  • 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 can always use more!
  • Restaurants: Contact us if you have a takeout or delivery service and food to donate.

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.

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.

 

Sincerely,

H.O.M.E. Community Signature-1

 

Update published 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. 

Update published 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.

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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. 

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

Sincerely,

GailSchechter_Signature

Gail Schechter

Executive Director

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