All updates are in bold.

Local school closures mean therapists and counselors are separated from the children they serve, during a time they may be needed the most. This week, WCCS mental health professionals will begin phone/video outreach to their current student clients, and face-face therapy or counseling when safe and appropriate. Group sessions may be added as we build out the programs.

We will continue our senior meal program. But we will prepare additional meals for our rural homeless population. The closures of food pantries, churches and other food producers for low-income families have cut off the food supply for many homeless citizens. The additional meals will be delivered to by Clean River Alliance (CRA). For years, CRA has been working with homeless citizens to organize trash cleanups. When CRA picks up full garbage bags, they will drop off meals.

Many homeless individuals are immunocompromised and the public facilities they use to stay warm or use the bathroom and drinking fountains during the day (libraries, shopping malls, etc.) are now closed. The Emergency Winter Shelter was scheduled to close on March 31. It will remain open until further notice, with additional safety protocols.

The Public Health Officer for the County of Sonoma has issued a shelter-in-place order.

Each day brings new information on how we can best work together during this period of time. The most important steps we can take are to follow the recommended health protocols and take care of each other. Please know that at West County Community Services we are doing our best to maximize both staff safety and continued support for our most vulnerable clients.

The Senior Center itself is closed but critical services remain in place. Rather than bring seniors in for community meals, we are making bagged meals and seniors can pick them up individually at our outside spaces. Our medical transportation program that provides daily rides from our rural area to city-based hospitals and other medical offices is now providing medically-approved transportation services through a taxi-voucher program. Client case management is continuing via telephone and e-mail. The Empowerment Center is creating Facebook Groups and other online support services to serve its clients remotely.

Importantly, given that more and more of us are remaining home, particularly vulnerable seniors, our Senior Depression Case Manager remains working full-time providing telephone and video support to these important clients. Employment Case Managers are working remotely with their current clients, providing job coaching/interviewing techniques, resume building, etc to keep them on the path of future or better employment.

Our Rapid Rehousing Case Manager is supportive clients via phone and e-mail and short-term financial support continues to be provided to landlord partners. Our Emergency Winter Shelter remains open and will continue through March 31 as planned. We are working with our County Public Health office to maintain a balance between supporting congregate meals and sleeping for 45 homeless individuals vs. the health risks of putting people outdoors in 37 degree nights. We honor our staff for keeping up their incredible work. We thank you for all of your support.

Tim Miller
Executive Director
West County Community Services