A Place To Call Home & Find Hope
During COVID-19 Pandemic
As our world is continues to be impacted by COVID-19, there’s one thing that has and will remain 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. The women who rely on the services that Abby’s House provides have been impacted by the loss of a job or reduction in hours, experienced social isolation and lack of available support due to closed services, are worried about their risk of contracting the virus, and have felt uncertain about the future. What continues to give them hope is the unwavering support and commitment of this community to ensure that the doors of Abby’s House remain open throughout this pandemic and beyond.
Continuing to serve our residents and guests during these unprecedented circumstances is requiring additional accommodations, new expenses, and expanded resources. Please click on the sections below to learn more about our response in each area. If you feel moved to help, please consider making a donation by clicking here.
The Abby’s House shelter remains open from 5:30 p.m. – 8 a.m., 7-days a week and has extended hours a few days a week to allow shelter guests to remain in the shelter during the day. A dedicated group of overnight volunteers, along with increased staff, continue to fill the gaps in coverage so that women can stay inside as much as possible as the virus continues to spread. Staff, food, and cleaning expenses have increased to ensure the overall safety and continued well-being of our guests.
Our Property Management team has been hard at work ensuring the safety of all residents in our three properties of supportive housing. Professional cleaning is now performed seven days a week in all common areas, and all properties remain stocked with Clorox wipes, paper towels and hand soap in every kitchen and bathroom. Every resident and guest has received home-made masks, donated by several individuals and organizations, and are asked to wear them when going into any common area.
In an effort to help residents maintain social distancing, chairs have been reduced in all common areas and residential kitchens have limited users at one time to ensure safety. Outside seating areas have designated markings to show residents where they can sit while still safely practicing social distancing.
We continue to lease any available units quickly, as the need for safe, affordable housing is greater now more than ever. All interviews are being conducted over the phone and in-person with social distancing protocol in place, and are by appointment only.
Our Advocates are hard at work each day to ensure the safety of both residents and shelter guests, and are working to remove any barriers the women may be facing to make sure their needs continue to be met. Advocacy staff are assisting residents and guests with new technology so they can access medical professionals through Telehealth appointments, updating benefits, and applying for needed services. For those facing increased financial difficulties, advocates are assisting women through the Annette Rafferty Survive to Thrive (ARST) fund as well as partnering with community resources to help cover rent, transportation, and medical expenses. The ability to stay connected through fun and informative Women’s Center activities and house meetings has helped keep women emotionally healthy and happy! Advocates are also providing connection by leaving special surprises in resident mailboxes, like gloves and hats, and a bi-weekly letter is sent to keep everyone informed about updates on the Coronavirus and available resources.
An easy way to help the women and children of Abby’s House is to donate an item on our needs list or Amazon Wishlist. Remember to use Amazon Smile and select “Abby Kelley Foster House, Inc.” if purchasing through Amazon. To ensure the safety of both donors and staff, we’ve updated our policies and procedures around in-kind donations. Please read below for more details.
At this time we are only able to accept brand-new items. The best method for in-kind donations is to order items online and have them sent directly to Abby’s House (52 High Street, Worcester, MA 01609). If you plan to drop off items in-person, please contact Jean Anger () to schedule a drop off time. Once a time has been scheduled and you arrive to drop off your donation, please bring the item(s) inside the doors and place it on the cart, located to the right of the lobby. Reception staff will be there to welcome you and assist you with any questions. To ensure everyone’s safety, please remember to wear a mask and keep a 6′ distance between you and others. Thank you for looking out for one another!
The Abby’s House Thrift Shop is open with updated store hours and donation policies. Extensive safety protocol has been established in the Thrift Shop to protect the health and safety of the public, staff and volunteers. The Thrift Shop is and continues to be an important resource for the community, and provides 11% of our operating budget, which supports the overall mission of Abby’s House. When the Thrift Shop had to close between mid March and mid June due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Abby’s House lost $50,000 in revenue. Individual donations continue to support ongoing lost revenue due to reduced hours.
This year’s annual Holiday Bazaar has moved virtual and is taking place now – December 19, 2020. To view available items, visit 32auctions.com/abbyshousebazaar.
Many dedicated volunteers have remained or returned to help support the mission of Abby’s House and those we serve. We understand that each volunteer’s circumstances are different, and we appreciate the volunteers who can continue to provide help. While here, each volunteer, along with staff, is asked to wear a mask and follow all social distancing guidelines that are in alignment with our safety protocol. In order to help keep everyone safe, all volunteers and staff must follow all state advisories, including advisories related to travel and testing. . This applies to all of our residents and shelter guests as well. 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.