The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has led to great loss for many and has impacted the lives of everyone around the globe. This past year brought many unprecedented challenges, especially for the women of Abby’s House. While it has been difficult, it also reinforced the importance of remaining grounded in the work we do each day at Abby’s House and flexible in order to adapt to changes, and it stressed the importance of community in times of uncertainty.
When the Coronavirus landed in Worcester, the women and children who rely on the services Abby’s House provides were found to be some of the most vulnerable to the effects of the virus. Not only were they at higher risk of contracting the virus due experiencing homelessness, their age or having pre-existing health conditions, but they were also found to be at risk of the secondary effects of the virus like the loss of a job, increased financial instability, and higher rates of depression and feelings of isolation. It was your support during this challenging time that enabled Abby’s House to shift our operations in just a matter of weeks, and kept our doors open, ensuring that the most vulnerable women and children in our community remained safe.
Because of you:
• Shelter hours were able to be temporarily extended from 5:30 p.m. – 8 a.m. to 24/7 coverage to keep the most vulnerable women safe from the virus during the stay-at-home order. The shelter continues to operate during the day on a part-time basis in order to provide further protection from the virus.
• 100% of women received bi-weekly COVID education, PPE supplies, and continued access to Advocacy staff throughout the pandemic
• 37 women and 4 children were welcomed into the Abby’s House shelter for a safe place to stay and to receive help in finding long-term housing
• 24 women were welcomed into Abby’s House supportive housing as new residents, bringing the total to 94 women and 11 children who resided in our supportive housing
• 21 residents and shelter guests moved into permanent housing, independent from Abby’s House
• $30,102 in ARST (Annette Rafferty Survive to Thrive) Funds were provided to help women in the face of unexpected or increased expenses, including rental assistance
“I’m very grateful for all of the help we received,” said Matilde, a current resident of Abby’s House. “There was nothing that we needed – we were given masks and sanitizer to keep us safe, a space to recover if we became sick, and had access to anything we needed. Abby’s House even helped me cover my rent when I couldn’t due to the virus. Abby’s treats women well.”
Though the Coronavirus pandemic presented many short and long-term challenges for the women of Abby’s House, it didn’t bring them to a standstill on their journeys. Your commitment kept them safely housed and continued to light the way towards safety, healing, and new beginnings.