Mar 16, 2020 — With the novel coronavirus now declared a pandemic, The Salvation Army’s Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division has significantly increased its preparation for an impending outbreak in our region. The Salvation Army is monitoring COVID-19 closely and has ramped up efforts to limit the spread of the virus, especially among the homeless and other vulnerable populations.
Although people experiencing homelessness can be more isolated, they also tend to have chronic medical issues and severely lack access to proper hygiene, updated information, medical resources, and care. In our residential facilities, close living conditions mean infectious diseases can quickly spread among residents.
We have implemented extra precautions to promote a safe and sanitary environment for our shelter residents, staff, and visitors, which is of utmost priority. Additional cleaning throughout the day, with an elevated focus on high-traffic areas and sanitation supplies, are part of every location’s infectious-disease protocol. If a resident or staff member gets sick, isolation/ quarantine areas will be established.
Individuals we serve daily will feel the impacts of this crisis on a greater level. We anticipate an increase in the demand for emergency assistance for those in our community who may be impacted by school closings, work closings, and potential job loss. Types of support include backup childcare, rent/ mortgage, utility, veterans needing transportation to healthcare facilities, and food assistance. We need help from our communities to be able to continue to provide these vulnerable populations with adequate support throughout this pandemic.
The Salvation Army is working with health officials at the local, state, and federal levels – including participating in situation-awareness calls with federal partners such as FEMA, CDC, OHS, and HHS. Following the CDC recommendation, The Salvation Army has canceled all events that consist of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks throughout Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Additional protocols are being formed quickly across the U.S. should further restrictions be placed on our communities.
For more information concerning how The Salvation Army is responding locally during this pandemic, please contact your local Salvation Army.