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

During the past quarter UPO’s Shelter Hotline team has diligently continued to protect people who live on the streets of DC. We check on their health, drive them to shelters and cooling centers, and provide them with lifesaving comfort items, food, clothing and protection against the elements.

While it is difficult to precisely determine the total number of individuals experiencing homelessness in the District that have taken advantage of the opportunity to get vaccinated, we can confidently say, the overall response has been high. As COVID19 vaccine became readily available, homeless providers worked strategically to ensure easy access as well as assistance to our most vulnerable residents to get vaccinated. Among the homeless population, those in low barrier shelters represented a higher vaccination rate (with at least 1 of 2 shots), as evidenced by a notable decrease in COVID19 transmission across the shelter system. Although the Delta variant is becoming more rampant across the country, there has not been any reported outbreak or significant increase of transmission among the homeless population in the District. However, this serious strain of the virus is being closely monitored by the homeless system as to the extent of impact on individuals experiencing homelessness.

The MDL Flats, located at 1550 1st St. SW are now completed and are open to 76 individuals and families, who can expect to celebrate Thanksgiving in their new homes, with upgraded amenities. All residents in this 100% affordable, new construction community are at 50% of area median income and below. We expect that another new building, MDXL flats, located at 1530 1st St., also being developed by TM Associates, will close in December 2021. The sister project to MDL flats will provided 101 units of affordable housing and expanded amenity space.

The Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) program has made a strong delivery to house individuals and families facing homelessness. MDL Flats is already practically full with 14 of the 15 PSH units already approved. The PSH units at MDL Flats are one of the few in the District to provide 4-bedroom homes for the larger families in the District needing permanent homes. Overall, the PSH program has received 54 clients, and housed 46 of them. As the weather cools down, it becomes even harder for our families without a home to receive adequate care and comfort.

We are very grateful to all our supporters who so generously supported our appeal for support of our PSH program on GlobalGiving’s Bonus Day 2021 on Wednesday July 14, 2021. We had set a goal to raise $10,000 to assist at least 5 DC neighbors with household supplies and furniture when they move from homelessness into their new homes. With your help we raised $6,500!

Please note our suggested Giving Opportunities for support of Help UPO Help the DC Homeless is now giving you the opportunity to:

  • Support the unfortunate homeless who are still out on the streets of DC with lifesaving comfort items, food, clothing and protection against the elements
  • Help us raise the remaining $3,500 we need to reach our goal of $10,000 to assist at least 5 DC neighbors with household supplies and furniture when they move from homelessness into their new homes.

Keep the Homeless of DC in mind by including Help UPO Help the DC Homeless in your year-end giving. They need your help in support of improving their lives. Please make a donation to Help UPO Help the DC Homeless today. Thank you for your generous support.

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DeeDee and Vanessa - the new 1550 1st ST. building
DeeDee and Vanessa - the new 1550 1st ST. building

UPO is vital to our community, including people who experience homelessness.

Our Shelter Hotline team protects people who live on the streets. We check on their health, drive them to shelters and cooling centers, and give them lifesaving items.

UPO also helps them move into permanent stable housing. And you can help.

This summer, thanks to our development partner TM Associates, UPO’s Affordable Housing division, led by Director DeeDee, is delivering new, high-quality affordable apartments at 1550 1st St. SW. UPO’s Permanent Supportive Housing program (PSH),  led by Director Vanessa, which helps people facing homelessness, will add wraparound services to help people lead stable, productive lives. PSH experts have housed 35 clients since the pandemic began and will be the onsite case managers in the new building, helping residents who earn 30% or less of the area’s median income.

UPO’s expert help is so valuable to people who just need a second chance:

  • The help Trina, received from UPO was everything to her. Life had always been difficult for Trina; she searched for solutions to her housing needs and emotional needs. UPO’s case managers found her a home and listened to Trina about her day-to-day struggles to let her know she was being heard. Trina says this support “changed my attitude … UPO gave me a better life.”
  • At one point, LeRoy had given up hope, saw himself as a failure, and thought about giving up on life. But he sought help, and soon connected with his UPO case manager who asked him, “What can we do to make your life a little better?” LeRoy responded that he needed a place of his own. So his case manager helped LeRoy achieve that goal. “UPO actually took me off the street,” he says. That’s what restored his hope.

As UPO paves the way to stability and self-sufficiency, we know that it is extremely challenging for people to move into a home when they haven’t had one. They need assistance to buy the simplest household supplies and furnishings. They deserve the basic comforts that we take for granted.

With your generous support, we can reach our goal of raising $10,000 to assist at least 5 DC neighbors with household supplies and furniture when they move from homelessness into their new homes.

Together, we have a great opportunity during

GlobalGiving’s Bonus Day 2021!                                                                 

You can donate from 9:00 AM EDT to 11:59 PM EDT on Wednesday July 14, 2021 with Matching Funds of $400,000 available — but these will only last until 1:00 PM. The following matching structure will apply while the funds last:

  • Donations of $100 - $499 will be matched at 15%
  • Donations of $500 - $749 will be matched at 30%
  • Donations of $750 - $1,000 will be matched at 50%

Please plan to make your donation by 1:00 PM EDT to guarantee that your donation is matched.

Your support is valuable and gifts of any amount and any time will be most welcome. We’re just offering this special chance to get a “bonus” added to your generous donation.

Thank you so much!

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The homeless population in DC has benefited tremendously from the increased availability of COVID19 vaccine. As of April 23, 2021 at total of  4,323 doses had been administered to individuals experiencing homelessness and staff across the shelter system. In addition over 315 unsheltered individuals were fully vaccinated. It was noted that 89% of shelter staff and clients due for second doses went back and received it. Overall, there is recognized reduction in the amount of COVID-19 positive cases amongst individuals experiencing homelessness as well as increased numbers willing to take the vaccine – realizing the health benefit of the vaccine's protection against COVID-19.  

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) and partnering providers across the homeless continuum have been working collaboratively with Unity Health Care to make the vaccine administration easily accessible to the Homeless Community. Although, there remain ongoing concerns in lieu of the continued pandemic, there is a collective sense that the threat of the pandemic is gradually receding among the homeless – the availability of the vaccine being a major factor. 

We are hopeful that we will witness a more significant reduction in COVID-19 cases as a result of more individuals receiving full vaccination in the coming weeks and months.

The 2021 Point in Time Count of Homeless (PIT) in DC was conducted on January 27, 2021:

  • On any given night there are 5,111 homeless persons in the District of Columbia: 681 unsheltered persons (i.e. persons “on the street”);
  • 3,352 persons in Emergency Shelters; and
  • 1,078 persons in Transitional Housing facilities.

The results of this year’s PIT count show that the total number of persons experiencing homelessness in the District decreased by 19.9 percent from 2020, and family homelessness decreased by nearly 50% since last year and by 68.1% since the 2017 PIT count. Homelessness among unaccompanied individuals also decreased 2% between 2020 and 2021. Though small, this drop is significant in that it is the first decrease among unaccompanied individuals in five years. See attached Comprehensive Report.

While the public health emergency has had an impact on system inflow, investments in prevention, housing, and creating more efficient programs are having an impact.

Shelter Hotline fulfilled numerous asks from DHS for transporting clients under unique circumstances during the critical months of the pandemic. We continue to work towards enhancing our customer service capacity to effectively meet the needs of a diverse homeless population through diversity training and effective utilization of Language Line/Interpreter Services and remain 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 $34,800 to fund life-sustaining comfort items we distribute to the DC Homeless. We sincerely thank each one of our 349 Project Supporters who have helped us reach this point.

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.

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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:

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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!

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Organization Information

United Planning Organization

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @UPOinDC
Project Leader:
Mervyn Myers
Washington, DC United States
$40,727 raised of $50,000 goal
 
644 donations
$9,273 to go
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