If there is a frontrunner for the most overused word this year, it is “unprecedented.” Close runners up include “the new normal,” “in the time of COVID,” and “going forward.” At Dorothy Day House, we are used to not just operating through, but innovating through uncertain times.
Our latest creation, the Berkeley Community Resource Center, (BCRC) has been up and running for a year now.
Within that time frame, look at what your support has accomplished:
· 2,126 loads of laundry (including washing and drying.)
· 38,400 showers
· Clothing for 10 different individuals per day.
· 65,700 meals
· 4,944 service recipients referred to our partner organizations for mental health, housing, and other assistance.
And throughout it all, we have had zero cases of the coronavirus come through our operation.
“It’s been really incredible,” says Robbi Montoya, Director of Programs, “We are community run and community operated – and it shows through our relationships with the people that we have had the privilege of helping.”
One such individual is Ramadan, a client of the BCRC, found out about Dorothy Day House after an abrupt eviction left him in need of housing and other basic needs. Now, he maintains the courtyard as a way of giving back.
“They are really efficient here,” Ramadan says with a laugh, “They are able to send you to appropriate resources quickly, without a long wait time.”
The BCRC is continuously expanding our horizons to meet the current moment. By the end of September, we were able to enumerate 375 homeless individuals (members of the “Hard to Count” population) in partnership with the Alameda County Complete Count Committee.
This week, we hosted both flu shots through our partnership with Alameda’s Healthcare for the Homeless and voter registration in our courtyard.
Our two outreach programs, the Mobile Outreach Service Team (MOST) and Street Partnership Outreach Team (SPOT) have a focus on reaching the estimated 2,000 people living in encampments that are not in reach of social service agencies. The people living in these encampments are assisted through this program with access to housing, mental health services and COVID-19 related testing and health service referrals.
As the months get colder and rainier, it becomes more important than ever make sure that the most vulnerable members of the Berkeley community are protected. After all, with ongoing fears of a ‘twindemic,’ no one is safe until we all are.
What does “being safe” look like? Well, for recipients of the services at the BCRC, it looks like having regular access to clean clothes, access to a warm blanket, a hot meal, and a place to go when in need.
“The majority of what we have been able to provide BCRC program participants is a real sense of community,” says Montoya, “If we can’t help someone with their current situation, we will find someone who can and will.”