Bethlehem Housing has continued to work tirelessly to aid homeless families throughout the global pandemic and stay at home orders. As soon as staff learned of the stay at home orders, plans were immediately made to continue all possible services for clients.
Bethlehem’s Family Coaches began performing at least weekly check-ins with all clients via phone and video calls. Clients were given the most updated information on how to remain safe and healthy, as well as how to access necessary resources, such as additional food and information on distance learning for their children.
“As with many families across the cities, some of our families experienced unemployment due to COVID-19 and our Economic Success Coach stepped in not only to help with finding other employment when possible, but helped many clients apply for the newly expanded unemployment benefits. Almost all client services have been able to continue through this time, with our Family Coaches working tirelessly with families to ensure their needs are met,” Program director Trinna Stanford said.
In addition to continuing to serve existing clients, Bethlehem has continue to take on additional clients in all areas. Since the beginning of March, Bethlehem Housing has aided 35 new families.
Due to new work-from-home measures, Family Coaches were unable to house new families for the majority of March. In these cases, the Family Coaches worked closely with local shelters to ensure the families had a safe and stable place to stay. They also worked with local landlords and realtors to ensure that families could be housed as soon as possible.
Once the housing pause was lifted, Family Coaches have worked with clients and landlords to do virtual walkthroughs of properties, lease signings and have helped provide basic furnishings and household items for clients. Since March, 26 families have been housed by Bethlehem, while the remaining ten clients are either still in the housing search process or were housed by another Bethlehem partner agency.