Pope Francis Center COVID-19 Response

by Pope Francis Center
Pope Francis Center COVID-19 Response
Pope Francis Center COVID-19 Response
Pope Francis Center COVID-19 Response
Pope Francis Center COVID-19 Response
Pope Francis Center COVID-19 Response
Pope Francis Center COVID-19 Response

At the end of May, after eight successful months at the TCF Center, we moved our operations back home to Ss. Peter & Paul Jesuit Church. Throughout June and July, our guests enjoyed our outdoor dining area in the parking lot across the street. We have successfully transitioned to providing all other services inside our space at the Church. Guests continue to be able to enjoy two hot meals, showers, laundry, and housing advocacy services each day. We run free medical, dental, legal and bike clinics for guests on a regular basis. Our medical partners continue to periodically provide HIV and COVID testing as well as COVID-19 vaccines to any guest who needs one. As COVID restrictions have lifted, we’ve seen an incredible response from our dedicated volunteers, who help us keep the Center running each day. With an end to the moratorium on evictions quickly approaching, we are anticipating an increase in the number of guests we see at the Center. To offset this increase, we are currently fundraising to expand our housing advocacy program as the need for housing support becomes even more critical.

As the health of our region and our country rapidly changes with the spread of the Delta variant, we remain steadfast in our commitment to serving our guests and keeping them safe.  Our work would not be possible with out you and our community of supporters. Thank you for believing in us and caring for Detroit’s most vulnerable. 

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Onsite Laundry Services Resume at the TCF
Onsite Laundry Services Resume at the TCF

Our new space at the TCF Center was crucial to providing social distancing while also providing much-needed shelter through a Detroit winter.  With 14,000 sq. ft. on the lower level of Detroit's convention center, we were fortunate to host our yearly Christmas event and giveaway, and provide our guests with a Christmas meal, entertainment, and a present.  We were also recognized by Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for our successful vaccine program which saw the highest amount of the homeless population vaccinated in the country.  This space also allowed us to shelter our guests safely overnight for eight days when the City of Detroit issued a Code Blue in mid February.   With the help of the McGregor Fund and others, we were able to our extend stay at the TCF Center through May 31 to provide warmth and shelter through uncertain April and May weather.  On June 1, we plan to return our outdoor programing to our parking lot where the Pope Francis Center first began its work with the homeless population more than 30 years ago.  Regardless of our location, our commitment to serving two meals, and providing shower and laundry remains critical. 

Vaccine Clinic
Vaccine Clinic
Christmas 2020
Christmas 2020

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The Return of a Chess Match
The Return of a Chess Match

After a very successful (and necessary) pivot to an all-outdoor program including the installation of outdoor restrooms, hand-washing stations, showers and open-air tents, we all knew this achievement would be short-lived with an upcoming Detroit winter. As we planned for the change in weather, we worked with the City of Detroit to find shelter for our guests and on November 16th we temporarily relocated to the TCF Center where we will be until March 31, 2021.  We currently occupy 14,000 square feet in the lower level of Detroit's convention center. This will allow our guests respite from the cold winter days while still allowing social distancing.  Our space includes two large dining rooms, two large lounge areas and the return of onsite showers and laundry facilities.  We have dedicated clinic space for our rotating medical partners, Beaumont Health and Covenant Community Care to assist our guests' daily medical needs, and also screen, monitor, and care for anyone presenting symptoms of the Coronavirus and get them to the nearest care facility. We will also operate as an emergency overnight shelter when the city issues a Code Blue weather emergency.  This relocation will allow us to continue our promise to provide two nutritious meals, showers, laundry, and medical attention to Detroit’s most vulnerable citizens.   

Warm Clothing Distribution
Warm Clothing Distribution
Medical Clinic
Medical Clinic

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Thank you for your interest and investment in helping us care for Detroit's most vulnerable citizens.  Your dedication to our services is particularly essential as we adapt to the global pandemic.

The summer months were less straining on our guests compared to the 30 degree temperature when COVID-19 first appeared in Detroit.  Our small staff rotated to remain open six days a week.  We were fortunate to receive summer help from student volunteers after they completed a 14-day quarantine. The commitment from everyone allowed us to continue to do the work we care so deeply about.

This year, we celebrated Juneteenth at the center.  With social distancing and other covid-19 regulations, we safely celebrated this historic holiday with our guests. With the help of Uptown BBQ, a black-owned business in Detroit, our guests celebrated in style with some of the best food in the city. Informational posters on this historic holiday were placed around the center, allowing for others to learn and hear about the importance of Juneteenth. As a center located in Detroit, we are aware of the struggles that our community has faced throughout their time. While many in this community feel forgotten and left behind, we took time that day to celebrate them. Many celebrate Juneteenth with friends and family, while some of our guests lack those connections and relationships, on that day, we saw everyone come together as a community, to celebrate one another. We are proud to celebrate such holidays at the center, taking the opportunity to remind our guests that they matter, and will always be part of the family at the Pope Francis Center. 

When COVID-19 struck, forcing us to close our building, we moved our operations outdoors to continue providing food, medical care, restrooms, handwashing stations, and even showers in a mobile unit.  The only program we could not move outside was laundry. With the summer heat and continued threat of COVID-19, laundry is more critical than ever to the health, safety, and dignity of our valued guests. To meet this need, we’re partnering with a local laundromat to restart our laundry service through the use of vouchers. However, this crucial program comes with a hefty price tag. We anticipate spending $50,000 on detergent and quarters for the machines to provide laundry til the end of the year. To accomodate to these costs, we are doing a month-long campaign, Change for Change, throughout September.

 

 

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Thank you for making the investment to save Detroit's most vulnerable citizens. With your help we have been able to provide meals, showers, and emergency clothing to the hundreds daily who come to us for help. Donations like yours allow us to rent the equipment and purchase the supplies we need to serve safely.  

The number of those we serve continues to climb. The demand for food has nearly DOUBLED since the outbreak of COVID-19. Our community of supporters continues to ensure that all who are hungry get fed.   That's why we are extremely grateful to Ford Motor Company Fund, Magna International, and the J. Addison and Marion M. Batush Family Foundation who stepped up to provide a match of up to $270,000 now through May 10th! These funds will guarantee that we can continue to provide for emergency equipment and supplies through the end of the year!  Check out our COVID-19 relief site for more information!

 

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Organization Information

Pope Francis Center

Location: Detroit, MI - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @popefranciscnt
Project Leader:
Leslie Lynch
Detroit, MI United States
$42,946 raised of $50,000 goal
 
236 donations
$7,054 to go
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