Mary Baldwin University to house homeless during pandemic
The move will create much needed space for implementing social distancing and isolation guidelines among the Mission’s clients currently housed at the agency’s shelter in Staunton.
The arrangement was facilitated with support from the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge.
“In times of crisis, it is essential that we band together to care for every valued member of our tight-knit community. Mary Baldwin is committed during this pandemic to providing shelter and opportunity for the Valley Mission’s clients, and we are proud to be a part of this creative solution to a community challenge,” said MBU President Pamela R. Fox.
Valley Mission clients moving to the dormitory are scheduled to complete the move by this Tuesday, April 7. Agency staff and volunteers will manage on-site operations, including food service and housekeeping/janitorial services. Placed clients will be housed in individual rooms, with access to shared kitchen and bathroom facilities.
Use of shared facilities will be carefully coordinated to enforce social distancing protocols and minimize the risk of potential exposure to the virus.
“On behalf of all who are served by the Valley Mission, we are grateful to the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge and Mary Baldwin University for making it possible that members of our community most in need can find safe shelter on the Mary Baldwin campus during the the COVID-19 crisis,” noted Susan Richardson, executive director of the Valley Mission. “Individuals who would otherwise have no protected place to shelter have found a new temporary home. This is a heartening example of uniting for common good in this unprecedented time.”
“Social distancing, while inconvenient, is relatively easy and achievable to do in our own homes. But for the members of our community who don’t have a home, and rely upon shelters such as the Valley Mission, we need to make sure that they have as much of an opportunity to stay healthy as everyone else,” said Dan Layman, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge.
In addition to the dormitory space, MBU will provide use of all furnishings, as well as perimeter security and trash disposal. The Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge will provide funds for cleaning and maintenance.