This post is part of our COVID-19 Response series to provide regular updates on services for survivors during the coronavirus public health crisis.

Some would say that we are in the business of contingency planning. Like most folks though, the severity of COVID-19 also caught us by surprise. When first responding to this crisis we did what we do with our clients every day, we safety planned.  

In the case of COVID-19, this means ensuring that our 35+ shelter residents, survivors in the community, and staff are as supported as they can be given the circumstances. 

Trusted friends and family are critical to safety plans for survivors, and our organization fulfilled this role as we created plans to assure staff health and safety during the coronavirus response.  

Rethinking our staffing to 5 days on and 10 days off is to ensure that if anyone in our community presents with COVID-19 symptoms we are able respond accordingly, ensuring the safety of everyone. This is achieved by also mandating that only essential staff be present at shelter. Our Administrative, Development/Communication, and Crisis Hotline Team have been transitioned to work remotely. We’ve also implemented temperature check-points for those entering and exiting shelter 

Residents who were already residing at shelter who wanted to continue to come and go and not shelter in-place, arrangements were made with our wonderful community hotel partners to make sure that survivors still had shelter as well as access to resources such as dining and advocacy from our advocates who are available at their hotel.  

With the increase in cases of intimate partner violence (IPV) since COVID-19, we’ve been sure act accordingly by increasing our efforts to support those for whom home is not a safe place. This has been accessible based on our relationship with local hotel partners. For those who meet the criterion for our program and wish to transition to shelter they’re provided temporary shelter at a hotel until being cleared for COVID-19 to guarantee safety for existing residents.  

Things are guaranteed to always change, that we know for sure. Our job is to maintain the relationships necessary to establish safety for those we serve. Relationships with survivors, the community, and our staff. This is how we grow together towards ending intimate partner abuse. 

#TeamKentucky is here to #SupportSurvivors