Help UPO Help the DC Homeless

by United Planning Organization
Help UPO Help the DC Homeless
Help UPO Help the DC Homeless
Help UPO Help the DC Homeless
Help UPO Help the DC Homeless
Homeless youth receive blanket and socks
Homeless youth receive blanket and socks

UPO’s Shelter Hotline continued to providing life-sustaining support to individuals and families experiencing homelessness across Washington DC, hard hit by the pandemic, maintaining 24/7 operations and deploying at least 8-10 vehicles/drivers per shift, providing emergency transportation and outreach services to the homeless.

Our entire fleet has been retrofitted with protective barriers to mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19.  We assumed a modified operation posture to provide on-demand transportation to support homeless clients to hyperthermia shelters. For those who refuse to go to shelter, out drivers distributed thousands of life-sustaining comfort items including blankets, socks, hats, gloves, long johns, meals, beverages etc.  Our Hotline phone operators received and process thousands of calls/phone inquiries and assisted callers with vital information and referrals to available resources. In addition, operators collaborated with shelters to monitor and maintain daily census of hourly counts of bed vacancies across shelter sites as well as referred clients seeking shelter. Drivers circled the city conducting wellness/safety checks on vulnerable individuals who are unsheltered and living in encampments Due to increased risk of COVID-19 exposure additional measures were taken to ensure safety of drivers by conducting non-medical COVID-19 screenings as well as consult with DHS COVID-19 Hotline for appropriate referrals and guidance.  We are encouraging staff to participate in receiving the vaccine to help prevent/mitigate the risk of COVID-19.

Shelter Hotline fulfilled numerous asks from DHS for transporting clients under unique circumstances including: transported clients who are medically frail/physically vulnerable to Medical Respite Sites; Transportation of clients discharged from Quarantine sites back to shelters; Canvasing identified locations across the city where negative activities were impacting homeless individuals; Relocating homeless clients to safe areas during times of protests and civil unrest. During Cold Weather Emergencies DC OSSE Transportation provided additional vehicles/drivers to increase our transportation and outreach capacity.

Shelter Hotline is working towards enhancing our customer service capacity to effectively meet the needs of a growing diverse homeless population through diversity training and effective utilization of Language Line/Interpreter Services. We hope to strengthen existing contingency infrastructures/systems to continue essential operations during times of crisis, disruptive events and emergencies. Shelter Hotline remains committed to our mission of providing critical lifesaving support to individuals and families experiencing homeless in the District.

To date Help UPO Help the DC Homeless has raised more than $34,200 to fund life-sustaining comfort items we distribute to the DC Homeless. We sincerely thank each one of our 342 Project Supporters who have helped us reach this point.

As the Pandemic grinds on the need continues to grow. We would like to reach our current Goal of $50,000 by July 31st, 2021 to secure our funding to the end of the year.  Please consider renewing your support to Help UPO Help the DC Homeless today and please tell your relatives and friends about our lifesaving work.

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Front Line worker feeds Homeless Youth
Front Line worker feeds Homeless Youth

During the COVID pandemic UPO’s Shelter Hotline has been focusing much more effort on outreach services to address the needs of un-sheltered clients in the streets, encampments and other places. Since people live on the streets at all hours, UPO helps them 24 hours a day. Our team of outreach workers constantly check their health and safety while distributing 150 meals a day, water, blankets, socks, and personal protective equipment (masks/gloves). We have given out 29,250 meals, along with water, comfort items, and rides to the city's most vulnerable — people experiencing homelessness during the past 6 months.

We have been supporting special projects such as transporting clients to cooling centers (during extreme heat), shower sites, moving clients to other low barrier shelters (when shelters close down) and transporting them to medical appointments. Our phone operators/dispatchers obtain hourly count of beds available from all shelters, make referrals to available shelters as well as track turn away of homeless clients (in order to assist DHS/Contract Funder justify the need to more shelter space).   Presently, we are preparing for the upcoming Hyperthermia Season.

We’ve seen a steady increase in the number of younger people on the streets in the last 5 years. The pandemic will accelerate this trend and the aftermath is expected to spark a greater homelessness crisis in DC. UPO is always there for people who need us. We reach out to them and they cherish our help.

Thanks to you and all our supporters, we are responding powerfully to our neighbors’ needs during the pandemic, as we do in each crisis faced by our beloved District. Our frontline Shelter Hotline heroes continue to provide high-quality direct services. We remain intentional about prioritizing the safety of our staff as well as our clients.

The funds you donate help SO much to provide care packages, food, and protective clothing that are SO important to our DC neighbors who are driven to shelters and medical appointments by UPO’s Shelter Hotline team.  Your support of their efforts, working on the front lines daily, means SO much to our team as they bravely face the perils of this vicious virus.

PLEASE HELP UPO HELP the DC HOMELESS NOW!

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

An annual count of homeless people in the Washington region tallied the fewest number of individuals sleeping outdoors or in emergency or transitional shelters since the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments began the exercise in 2001”(Washington Post 6/11/20). The annual survey, a one-night snapshot conducted on 1/22/20 showed 6,380 people homeless in DC, 141 fewer than in 2019. The number of DC homeless has been dropping steadily since 2016 but this trend will unfortunately suffer a severe reversal as the effects of the increased unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic shut down. The Washington Post 6/15/20 writes “Homelessness crisis expected in DC when Coronavirus emergency ends and evictions begin.” Just about the time DC is coming out of the coronavirus crisis, it will face a new one over homelessness, housing experts warn. Thousands of tenants who recently lost their jobs because of the pandemic shutdown can no longer afford to pay their rent or will soon lack the money to do so. They’re able to stay in their homes for now because of an emergency moratorium on evictions. But the ban ends 60 days after Mayor Muriel E. Bowser lifts the public health emergency, and evictions are likely to surge, according to officials and advocates for tenants.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected the lives on thousands of DC residents with homeless population being most severely impacted. In lieu of this health emergency, UPO Shelter Hotline continued to provide essential services to our homeless clients across the District

  • On-demand transportation of unsheltered clients to available shelter, operators conducted COVID-19 screening prior to each transport.
  • Fulfilled special transportation requests/projects including transport of vulnerable clients, due to age and medical conditions, from shelters to medical respite, dialysis appointments and transport of clients from isolation/quarantine sites to shelter (after cleared of COVID-19)
  • Engaged in daily street outreach efforts such as wellness checks, safety checks, distributed hundreds of meals, beverages, comfort items as well as personal protective equipment masks/gloves (PPE), while educating homeless consumers about safety, social distancing and available resources.
  • Increased partnership with others homeless providers, particularly with coordinated outreaches, to provide support and fill gaps in services

Shelter Hotline remains on modified operations status, while continuing to provide essential services to homeless individuals and families across the District. Since, transportation activities decreased over the last 3 months, Shelter Hotline have been focusing much more effort on outreach services to address needs of un-sheltered clients in the streets, encampment and other places. We are distributing an average of 150 meals and water per day, along with comfort and PPE items to the homeless daily.  We are supporting special projects such as transporting clients to cooling centers (during extreme heat), shower site, moving clients to other low barrier shelters (when shelters close down). Our phone operators/dispatchers obtain hourly count of beds available from all shelters, make referrals to available shelters as well as track turn away of homeless clients (in order to assist DHS/Contract Funder justify the need to more shelter space).   Presently, we are preparing for Re-opening DC as well as the upcoming Hyperthermia Season.

In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, Shelter Hotline implemented a Modified Operations Protocol, which included several precautionary guidance in order to prevent and minimize risk of exposure to staff and clients served: ceased all morning and evening scheduled runs as of March 16, 2020 to the present; provided “On Demand” transportation to shelters; continued to conduct outreach services safety and wellness checks, food distributions, supplied comfort items, educated consumers;  social distancing and protection precautions taken when transporting clients; limited the number of passengers picked up and transported per trip: 3 passengers per 15 passenger vehicle, 5 passengers per 25 passenger vehicle, 3 passengers per ADA vehicle; supported special request projects, served as distribution hub for other homeless providers and filled gaps in services to meet the needs of homeless clients.

Phone operator/dispatchers conduct COVID-19 screening for each homeless person requesting transport- before dispatching drivers to transport. Drivers have clients sit at least 2 seats back from the driver for social distancing and provide masks, gloves and sanitizing disinfectant items to on-boarding clients and are expected to use  hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, spray, gloves and masks. Drivers are expected to sanitize/disinfect vehicles after each “On Demand” transport.  A professional cleaning service thoroughly cleans and sanitizes vehicles 3 times per week. We are currently working on outfitting our entire fleet of vehicles with Commercial Transportation Plastic Protection Screens. There have been no report of Shelter Hotline staff contracting COVID-19 virus during the line of duty nor any deaths – since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a “Shelter –in Place Order” was issued across the shelter systems. Clients who are already in congregant shelters are required to remain in the same shelters on a 24 hour basis, with meals, social and healthcare services provided in the shelter (Unity Health Care provides COVID-19 screening/health services). Client in shelters who becomes symptomatic for COVID-19 or had been exposed, may be asymptomatic, are transported via DHS designated transport, not by UPO Shelter Hotline, to isolation or quarantine sites for future testing/treatment. There are an additional three isolation/quarantine sites and two Pandemic Emergency Program for Highly Vulnerable Individuals (PEP-V) facilities – all hotels designed for the protection of clients in low barrier shelters. Testing for COVID-19 is ongoing at each shelter and there is a weekly DHS Provider Update Conference Call to provide update on findings regarding impact of COVID-19 shelter system.

The UPO Shelter Hotline Team have shown incredible commitment and resiliency in meeting needs of  the homeless as demonstrated by “Above and Beyond” services in the wake of and during the COVID-19 pandemic – and continuing to do so. We remain intentional about prioritizing the safety of our staff as well as our clients. Partnering with other homeless providers as well as the faith-based community have increased our capacity and strengthened our reputation across the District.

Please join us in our ongoing efforts on behalf of the DC Homeless by making a generous gift to Help UPO Help the DC Homeless. Your support will provide funding for the much needed care packages, water, food trays and protective clothing we distribute, so greatly appreciated by our Homeless DC residents. With the anticipated spike in the number of DC Homeless this need will continue to grow.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Groundbreaking at 1550 1st St. SW DC
Groundbreaking at 1550 1st St. SW DC

On Friday January 24th UPO celebrated the groundbreaking for a new, 100% affordable housing development at 1550 1st St. SW DC, between Nationals Park and Audi Field. It’s the first new affordable building in this Ward 6 neighborhood in over a decade. Previously 2 stores were on the property; so no existing homes were displaced. In anticipation of this day, UPO became a certified provider of Permanent Supportive Housing services for DC residents. On the ground, this means that UPO will be the onsite case manager, helping residents who earn 30% or less of the area’s median income.

We cemented our partnership with TM Associates, the developer of this property. Our deepest thanks go to Dana Jones, UPO’s immediate past President and CEO, whose 40-year relationship with Bob Margolis, the CEO of TM Associates, was the spark that lit this flame. By taking this bold approach—homes of market-rate quality, exclusively for people who earn 50% or less of the area’s median income—UPO has made the first ripple in the pond. Sheila Miller, Deputy Director for Programs at DC’s Dept. of Housing and Community Development, called it “unprecedented” for the city. Our hope is that it becomes a model for how such projects are done across the District and beyond.

UPO's mission is Uniting People with Opportunities. As the designated community action agency for DC, UPO serves DC homeless through our programs. UPO Shelter Hotline vans transported 186,416 people to shelters last year. As we help the homeless to self-sufficiency, we believe that they deserve the decency of basic comfort items that we can take for granted.We provide comfort items for the homeless people we assist, from feminine items to care packages, water, food trays and protective clothing when we transport them to shelters during hypothermia alerts and inclement weather.

UPO’s Office of Early Learning provides children of homeless families with free education and family support. Adult Education & Training, Building Careers Academy and Workforce Development provide free job training. We are excited that our new Affordable Housing Division will provide an essential additional option in our services provided to the 6,500 DC homeless Shelter Hotline currently serves.

Please join us in our ongoing efforts on behalf of the DC homeless by making a generous gift to Help UPO Help the DC Homeless. Your support will provide funding for the much needed care packages, water, food trays and protective clothing we distribute, so greatly appreciated by our Homeless DC residents when we transport them to shelters.

New Development at 1550 1st St. SW DC
New Development at 1550 1st St. SW DC
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
UPO Launches Affordable Housing Program
UPO Launches Affordable Housing Program

Since May 2019, UPO has formally expanded services to provide affordable housing units in DC. UPO is striving to meet the needs of DC’s most vulnerable and underserved families, homeless families and individuals and provide them with stability, self-sufficiency and housing. We are partnering with top development firms to produce high-quality affordable rentals homes and supportive services for the lowest income residents We are also assisting with providing and expanding other housing services through our Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Initiative and extended Resident Services where we encourage community engagement, education, employment and family wellness to other partner properties. The goal is to deliver 500 units in 5 years. For the immediate future we are producing 178 high-quality affordable rental homes with supportive services and also supporting the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Initiative. See attached picture "UPO Launches Affordable Housing Program"

UPO's mission is Uniting People with Opportunities. As the designated community action agency for DC, UPO serves DC homeless through our programs. The Office of Early Learning provides children of homeless families with free education and family support. Adult Education & Training, Building Careers Academy and Workforce Development provide free job training. The establishment of Affordable Housing Division will provide an essential additional option in our services provided to the 6,500 DC homeless Shelter Hotline currently serves.

We hope you and your loved ones had a wonderful Thanksgiving. The holiday season is upon us, gatherings with family and friends in our warm homes. Please give a thought to the unfortunate homeless folk as we enter the holiday season. Hypothermia alerts, inclement weather, transportation to shelters. UPO Shelter Hotline vans transported 186,416 people to shelter last year. As we help the homeless to self-sufficiency, we believe that they deserve the decency of basic comfort items that we can take for granted. Help us raise money for comfort items for the homeless people we assist, from feminine items to care packages, water, food trays and protective clothing we distribute when we transport them to shelters.

Tuesday December 3rd is #GivingTuesday, a National Day of Giving, you have the opportunity to make a meaningful gift to a wonderful program that benefits the unfortunate homeless population of Washington, DC. Global Giving is offering a $500,000 Incentive Fund and many other prizes on #GivingTuesday.

GlobalGiving’s 2019 #GivingTuesday Campaign will begin Dec.3, 2019, at 12:00.01 am and end at 23:59:59 pm on Dec.3, 2019.

Please join us and make your #GivingTuesday gift to Help UPO Help the DC Homeless to fully fund the much needed care packages, water, food trays and protective clothing we distribute, so greatly appreciated by our Homeless DC residents when we transport them to shelters.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

United Planning Organization

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @UPOinDC
Project Leader:
Mervyn Myers
Washington, DC United States
$34,487 raised of $50,000 goal
 
563 donations
$15,513 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

United Planning Organization has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:
Add Project to Favorites

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.