How to support PACEM during the Covid-19 pandemic

How to support PACEM during the Covid-19 pandemic

PACEM is normally a seasonal shelter. However, a month before the scheduled end of our 2019-20 season the pandemic struck and we quickly pivoted our operations from congregational sites to fixed ones in downtown Charlottesville. Instead of closing on April 10th, we provided congregate shelter to 20-30 homeless guests a night for an additional eight weeks. 

On April 23rd, we were able to move our entire women’s shelter (5 women at the time) plus a dozen men out of the congregate setting and to a nearby hotel where they have remained ever since. On June 10th, the rest of our men (almost 20) exited our congregate shelter for the same hotel. As there were initially a limited number rooms available at the hotel, we continued to offer emergency overnight shelter for women at a local congregational site through the end of June. However, more hotel rooms were made available which allowed us to close congregate shelter for the summer.

ORDER PACEM’S 12-month 2021 CALENDAR,featuring native birds of Albemarle County, Virginia.ALL PROCEEDS BENEFIT OUR WOMEN'S SHELTER!

Ever since, PACEM has supervised the sheltering of approximately 50 men and women at the hotel. In addition to providing evening staffing, our case management team has worked closely with the hotel guests to regularly evaluate their stays and identify and attack obstacles to housing.  

Now, as the nights grow crisper, we are set to offer congregate shelter, once again, to the homeless individuals that are unable to access the hotel option. Shelter at church sites is scheduled from November through March while hotel rooms will continue to be available to those homeless individuals with a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus.      

Congregate shelter will look a lot different than it did a year ago. Safety measures like masks and sanitizing stations, and, most significantly, social distancing, will have a dramatic impact on our ability to shelter. Volunteer interaction–a bedrock of PACEM’s services–will be severely restricted. Even so, we will strive to offer a warm and welcoming safe space for those impacted by homelessness.

If you would like to become part of our effort please email volunteer@pacemshelter.org. If you would like to financially support our shelters, make a donation here. If you have any questions contact Jayson Whitehead. And please stay safe!