Nikkole stood back from the group and spoke holding out her arms wide.

“This is like a family here,” she said. “Every one of my staff members is strong, caring, and valued. I’m proud of the team we have here.”

Nikkole is the Program Manager at Compass at First Presbyterian (CFP) shelter and had called a team meeting. The team wanted a potluck. Team members brought in homemade, semi-homemade, and “my grandma’s recipe” (aka grocery store chicken) to the meeting. The tables were spaced out and every member of the team was separated to ensure social distancing, but the food was amazing and diverse.

“We do the work here,” Nikkole said. “We come in every day and every night with two things in mind, serving our guests and taking care of each other. This place is special to us because of us. Because every one of you put in the work.”

The CFP shelter has gone through a few changes as the COVID crisis continues. The beds are spaced out and the guests are arranged to make sure social distancing is enforced. The common rooms have been shut down and all the cleaning procedures have been enhanced. 

The shelter is an enhanced shelter that provides 100 beds with 24-hour access to those that are registered with our services. There is on-site housing navigation, access to case management, and skill development opportunities. A behavioral health clinician comes to the site on a weekly basis. There is also a Licensed Practicing Nurse who comes to the site weekly to provide services, and our guests and staff get tested for COVID weekly. We haven’t had any positive cases to date. 

Even with the additional challenges of COVID, the CFP shelter has been placing 8-10 permanent housing placements a month. That is a big number, given the lack of affordable housing in our area. It is a testament to the team’s professionalism and drive. They are the embodiment of the mission of Compass Housing Alliance.

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