A Place To Call Home & Find Hope
During COVID-19 Pandemic
As our world changes daily with updates regarding COVID-19, there’s one thing that remains the same: Abby’s House is committed to fulfilling our mission of providing shelter and affordable housing, as well as advocacy and support services to homeless, battered, and low-income women, with and without children. This is a difficult time as COVID-19 continues to take a devastating toll on lives and communities and the future remains uncertain. For a woman staying in shelter, with no job prospects because many businesses have temporarily shut down, or for a woman in housing, with unemployment rates soaring, the fear of not being able to afford rent and meet basic needs is setting in. We are doing all that we can to provide immediate support for the increased basic needs of the women and children we serve and to meet new needs that are emerging, but we are only able to do this thanks to people like you.
Continuing to serve our residents and guests during these unprecedented circumstances is requiring additional accommodations, new expense, and expanded resources. To view updates from Executive Director, Stephanie Page, click here.
The Abby’s House shelter remains open and it’s hours have been extended from 5:30 p.m. – 8 a.m. to 24 hours a day. This allows shelter guests to remain safe by staying inside as much as possible. Due to the temporary loss of shelter volunteers, additional staff have been hired to fill the gaps in overnight coverage, and food expenses have increased to allow for women to stay in all day. We’ve also hired a professional cleaning company to thoroughly clean the shelter 7 days a week.
Our Property Management team has been hard at work ensuring the safety of all residents in our three properties of supportive housing. All properties remain stocked with Clorox wipes, paper towels and hand soap in every kitchen and bathroom. Hand sanitizer dispensers, generously donated by Masterman’s in Auburn, MA, have also been installed in each bathroom in our largest property of housing. Every resident and guest have received home-made masks, donated by several organizations, and are asked to wear them when going into any common area. All residents were provided with informative letters from the Director of Supportive Services and information on the Coronavirus from the CDC.
In an effort to help residents maintain social distancing, chairs have been removed from all common areas and residential kitchens have limited use hours posted to ensure safety. Outside seating areas have been marked with an “x” to show residents where they can sit while still safely practicing social distancing.
Leasing continues to happen, as the need for affordable housing is greater now more than ever. All interviews are being conducted over the phone and by mail, and are by appointment only.
Our Advocates are hard at work each day to ensure that both our residents and shelter guests are safe and have access to essentials such as food and toiletries, as well as access to their doctors and therapists. The advocacy team continues to provide 1:1 support to each woman, checking-in with them at least once a week and providing remote support to help them apply for unemployment, create and update resumes, and to check-in on their physical and emotional well-being. Many health professionals have set up appointments through TeleHealth, an organization that provides healthcare solutions including secure video conferencing with doctors/therapists and their patients. In order to provide access to these services while remaining socially distant, Abby’s House has purchased a laptop with a web camera and microphone, allowing our residents and guests to be able to connect with these crucial services.
The Advocacy Team continues to think creativity in order to continue to foster a sense of connection and community with one another. They host weekly virtual “House Huddles” with each of our three properties of housing in order to provide updates to everyone and answer any questions our residents may have. They have also begun hosting virtual Women’s Center Activities, such as crafting, to provide various outlets for the women to remain engaged and connected with each other.
The Abby’s House Thrift Shop is back open after being closed for two months! The Thrift Shop is an important resource for the community and also provides 11% of our operating budget, which supports the overall mission of Abby’s House. In the months of April and May, we lost $50,000 in revenue without our loyal customers. To learn more about the Thrift Shop, including donating items, click here.
Please consider making a gift to help offset this loss. All donations made to abbyshouse.org/donate enable the women and children of Abby’s House to have a safe place to call home.
Our dedicated volunteers have started coming back to help support the mission of Abby’s House and those we serve. While here, each volunteer is asked to wear a mask and follow all social distancing guidelines. In order to help keep everyone safe, we’ve asked that if anyone goes beyond the borders of New England, NY or New Jersey that they self-quarantine for 14 days upon re-entering Massachusetts. This applies to all of our residents and shelter guests as well staff and active volunteers. To learn more or to become a volunteer, visit our volunteer page.
There are new tax incentives for charitable giving that were included in the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act.
1. All taxpayers (both those who itemize and those who use standard deduction) can deduct $300 in charitable giving to public nonprofits in 2020. (Prior to the CARES Act, those who used standard deduction could not deduct any charitable giving.)
2. For those who itemize their taxes (which accounts for nearly all taxpayers with an income of $200,000+) the CARES Act significantly raises the amount of charitable giving deductible from 60% of filers’ adjusted gross income (AGI) to 100% of AGI. For more information, contact your financial advisor to discuss your personal financial situation.
To learn more, visit our Ways to Give page.
If you are moved to help, please visit the Ways to Give page. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your giving options, contact Kelly Whalen, Director of Development directly at (508) 756-5486 x214 |