New procedures for handling Sonoma’s homeless

Posted on March 15, 2020 by Sonoma Valley Sun
Kathy King, executive director of Sonoma Overnight Support, the city’s contracted provider of homeless sevices, issued this statement:
SOS realizes that we have a high-risk and complicated situation serving the homeless during the coronavirus pandemic. The best way we can help the homeless is to mitigate their risk and
try to prevent them from transmitting the virus. With that in mind, we have implemented the following procedures:
All of our clients will be monitored for symptoms morning and night. We will take their temperature and urge them to report to us any dry or sore throat, fever, headaches,cough, significant trouble breathing, or other aches and pains. Anyone with any of those symptoms will be treated with fever reducers and cough medicine and asked to wear a mask and gloves and as much as possible keep themselves separate from other clients and our staff. They will be sent to the Sonoma Valley Community Health Center for testing if they present all of the virus symptoms.
Starting yesterday, we are serving only to-go food at La Luz on Friday nights. We will also serve only to-go food at the Springs Hall. At both locations, this will be for the foreseeable future. No one at either location will be allowed to sit and/or socialize.
Volunteers have been asked to make sandwiches and food “to-go bags” in containers. Volunteers are also asked to drop this food off and not have contact with the homeless.
A health care professional from the community health center came in The Haven last week to assess our clients, and to date, no one has presented with any symptoms. Today we are having The Haven deep cleaned.
We are implementing new day service hours. They will be from 9 am to 11 am Monday-Friday.
We will serve only to-go food in the backyard, where we are setting up a large pop-up tent. We will allow two people into The Haven at a time to use the shower and the restroom. No other services will be provided. Winter Shelter clients will also be served to-go food. They will be monitored for symptoms and have their temperature taken every evening.
We are treating our clients as if they are in a retirement facility. This is why we are limiting anyone going in and out of The Haven as well as interactions among our clients, staff, and volunteers. Only staff who volunteer to come in will be at The Haven, and like our clients, they will be monitored for symptoms and have their temperatures taken every day.
SOS is mindful that we are all in this together. It is imperative that we provide for those who have no home to shelter in place, but SOS is not able to do that. We are in contact with the County and the City to learn what they plan to do if unsheltered people need to be in quarantine for 14 days.

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