Light House Statement on COVID-19

Dear Light House Community,

As we all continue to monitor and adjust to these uncertain times, I would like to thank you for being a part of our Light House family. At this moment The Light House is not in crisis, but we are taking proactive measures to prevent one and we can’t do this without your support.

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has presented unique challenges for our most vulnerable neighbors. The individuals and families we serve will be those hardest hit by this crisis, and most will also struggle with the difficult question of how to practice social distancing without a safe place to call home. Our supportive services will be needed more than ever before as we see an unprecedented increase in neighbors unable to afford basic needs such as food, adequate housing, and medication. The Light House is prepared to allocate more resources specifically to helping those who will be negatively impacted by this public health crisis, but your financial support will be essential to these efforts.

Many of you have asked how residents in our shelter and other community clients who come through our doors can practice social distancing. To be honest, this is an extremely difficult challenge. When all current recommendations focus on social distancing, how do we continue to operate a facility that, at it’s core, has been set up to function as shared living and community spaces? Preventing the spread of COVID-19 depends on how well we can practice social distancing, and for some, physical isolation may even be required. To accomplish this, we have had to make major changes to our everyday operations, and are greatly limiting the number of people who circulate through our building.

Our individual residential dormitories are set up to house 45 residents who live and sleep in very close proximity to each-other. To keep our most high-risk clients safe and provide greater distance between resident beds, we are temporarily moving half of our individual residents into hotel rooms. We are grateful for the support of the County, especially County Executive Pittman, our partners at the Department of Social Services, and the Department of Health who are helping us with housing and safety during this difficult time. We will continue to ensure that all of our residents in our Light House building and those who will be residing in hotels will continue to have food, basic needs, and regular in person case management services.

Our staffing, food needs, and other in-kind donation needs are still ongoing, but many procedures have changed. As many of you know, we rely heavily on the hard work and dedication of our volunteers, and we are lucky to have thousands of volunteers donate their time to our mission each year. Unfortunately, in order to minimize the number of people in our buildings and follow CDC guidelines, we have suspended all on-site volunteer opportunities (with the exception of meal service). We are also operating with a limited number of on-site staff members due to health precautions, lack of school/child-care, and other issues many of you at home are facing. Our facility is housing residents who are high-risk, and because of this, only essential personnel and meal service volunteers are allowed in our building.

We have also made changes to our donation policies and greatly limited the items we can accept. For those dropping off bagged lunches or other donation items we can accept , we ask that you please ring our doorbell and leave the donations outside of our lobby door where a staff member will come out and accept them. If you are scheduled to make bagged lunches, we kindly ask that you not prepare them yourself, but instead simply donate the ingredients so that our staff can prepare them in-house.

As you may already know, our social enterprise, Light House Bistro temporarily closed its doors earlier this week. This loss of revenue is going to be tough and we hope that once our Light House Bistro opens up again you will support us as enthusiastically as you have for the past three years!

These are extraordinarily trying times and the cost of this reality will be staggering to our organization. Simply put, we need you in our corner more than ever. Many of you are asking how you can help. The best way to stand by our residents, vulnerable community clients, and staff at this time is by making a gift — you can do so by clicking here.

I hope you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy and that you will keep your neighbors at The Light House in your thoughts and prayers.

With deepest gratitude.


Jo Ann Mattson

Executive Director, The Light House