On March 19, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay at home order for the State of California in response to mitigating the spread of the coronavirus in our communities. The Governor's order requires that all Californians remain at home and to only leave their homes for obtaining food, attend necessary health care, or to go to an essential job. The order also lists essential businesses and nonprofits that may remain open.
Under the order, Whittier Area First Day Coalition (First Day) is an essential organization, and we are continuing to provide services during this period for our neighbors experiencing homelessness.
First Day is taking every precaution to minimize exposure for our participants and staff. We have been following updates and recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and local public health agencies. Unfortunately, many of our neighbors experiencing homelessness not only do not have a place to call home, but also have chronic health issues that may increase their vulnerability to COVID-19.
As a leader in the provision of homelessness services since 1989, First Day proudly serves over 900 individuals annually. Our programs offer fundamental necessities to help individuals and families experiencing homelessness in the Greater Whittier community to stabilize their life situation.
Due to the pandemic crisis and the risks it poses for our participants, we are limiting our on-site services for non-residential clients to provision of mail services, hygiene kits, resources, and referrals over the phone. Our Street Outreach Team continues to check in with our unhoused participants providing street-based support. Our Interim Housing Program continues to provide shelter to single men and women in our community in need of shelter especially at times like these. Through these changes, our residents, participants, and staff safety remain our top priority.
At this time, our neighbors that are experiencing homelessness are continuing to face severe challenges as shelter beds remain full, traditional public and private support programs have shut down, unemployment rates are increasing to levels unseen before and housing opportunities remain scarce. You can make a difference in the lives of our community’s most vulnerable by pledging your support of First Day’s work. Please consider making a monetary contribution to help support First Day’s on-going efforts to assist our unhoused neighbors as well as those on the verge of homelessness. Contributions can be made online at the following link: www.whittierfirstday.org/donate .
Another easy way to support First Day is through AmazonSmile, which allows you to support your favorite charity every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you will find the same exact low prices, selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added benefit of Amazon donating 0.5% of your eligible expenses to the charitable organization of your choice. By selecting Whittier Area First Day Coalition you can ensure that your 0.5% will be donated to our organization to help support our work.
First Day is continuing to assess this crisis as it affects our service area and will provide further updates as appropriate. We truly appreciate everything you have done for us and for your continued support during these difficult times. For other ways to support or if you have any questions please, visit our website at www.whittierfirstday.org or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Irene Muro, MPA
Following please find links to current information on COVID-19, including:
- How the virus spreads.
- How to treat the virus.
- How to protect yourself.
- What to do if you get sick.
Los Angeles Department of Public Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
World Health Organization (WHO)
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