In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Solid Ground programs, services, and operations are innovating and adapting, changing how we work to prioritize “flattening the curve” while providing the best services we can to program participants and the community at large.
We are changing operating hours and individual schedules, deploying team members and leaders to different sites, suspending certain activities, and innovating with the information, people, and resources available. This includes opening our Wallingford offices to appointments only through Friday, April 3, 2020.
Here are some of the ways we are innovating:
Solid Ground Transportation (SGT) is ensuring the safety and well-being of employees and passengers by sanitizing vehicles daily and keeping work areas disinfected at the end of shifts. SGT is also working with King County Metro to:
- Coordinate prepackaged food deliveries from food banks to those in need
- Provide transportation to additional shelter spaces for people experiencing homelessness
- Exploring other ways to support food banks, school meal programs, senior centers, and emergency shelters
Access ridership is down nearly 50% and continuing to decline as King County services close. Operators are voluntarily taking time off to accommodate many route closures.
Sand Point Housing worked with Compass Housing Alliance and Mercy Housing to coordinate a food drive – creating over 270 food bags for families. Solid Ground is also working with partners on school lunch pickup for 150 households. Critical priorities include securing additional sources of rental assistance and providing up-to-date information about preventing and containing COVID-19.
All late fees are being waived and we are working to define payment plans that work for everyone. Cleaning and sanitizing protocols have been enhanced throughout all properties. Group programs have been suspended and many group meeting spaces closed for use until further notice. Onsite services are offered by phone whenever possible.
Food System Support (FSS) is participating in the regional hunger response by coordinating efforts to address the impact of school closures. FSS is working with SGT on the delivery of food across the region.
Community Food Education (CFE) has cancelled classes. While volunteer groups are not currently coming to our Giving Garden at Marra Farm, the staff is preparing for the growing season.
JourneyHome/Rapid Rehousing (JHRRH) is working in the field and rotating “in office” days to ensure coverage.
Diversion/Regional Access Point (RAP) is also working from the Wallingford office as the Opportunity Center for Employment and Education at North Seattle College is closed at this time. We are working to secure more rental assistance resources. Assessment and diversion services are being performed by phone whenever possible.
Broadview Emergency Shelter and Transitional Housing is working to ensure residents are safe – extending time as families need. Staff is enhancing cleaning and sanitizing protocols. Groups, clinic visits, and many partner services have been suspended. Staffing has been adjusted to ensure crisis response, case management, and rapid rehousing services are prioritized at this time.
Resource Development (RD) and Volunteer Services have been adapting scheduled events to honor Public Health guidelines. The March Volunteer Orientation was cancelled, and the annual Building Community Luncheon is being converted to a Recipe for Change Virtual Lunch-IN kicking off on March 24 at noon. RD is tracking new funding sources and changing contract guidelines to support COVID-19 response programs – engaging public and private partners to receive additional revenue that will allow us to increase support to participants. Innovations include the virtual event – a livestream of James Beard Award-winning Chef Edouardo Jordan and several speakers, as well as a new online giving/text giving portal.
Finance continues to cut client assistance checks daily and has offered support to the community in standing up a rental assistance program aimed at people affected by COVID-19.
IT is supporting a wide range of teams to move toward virtual work using Microsoft 365 tools, Zoom, GoToMeeting, and other resources.
In addition to program and agency adjustments, Solid Ground has been busy responding to COVID-19 at the system level.
We are working with City of Seattle’s Office of Housing and other providers on emerging issues, such as ensuring people living on low incomes and experiencing income loss due to COVID-19 receive rental assistance to prevent eviction. Solid Ground is in a unique position to address this critical need by using our existing and efficient systems for rental assistance.
Solid Ground is working with food system partners to support food access for people living under quarantine or self-isolation after exposure to COVID-19, as well as for children home from school. Alongside food banks and King County Metro, Solid Ground is planning food delivery to vulnerable populations and coordinating with 211 to update emerging information about community resources.
It’s almost time for the 2020 US Census. Homes are receiving official Census Bureau mail during the month of March and Solid Ground’s Advocacy team is supporting census outreach efforts across Solid Ground and the region. Statewide Poverty Action Network is converting in-person advocacy trainings to calls and advocating for the state Department of Social and Health Services to suspend some work requirements and sanction policies to support low-income families.
Solid Ground’s leadership takes part in calls with Public Health, Office of Housing, Community Action, and other key partners almost daily and disseminates guidance in regular communications throughout the organization.
Your support is appreciated as we navigate this situation. Together, with the safety and well-being of Solid Ground participants and colleagues at the forefront of every decision, we may need to make ongoing adjustments to the ways we work – but our commitment is unwavering. Visit Solid Ground’s Coronavirus Response webpage for ongoing updates.