COVID-19 Updates

 

Pine Street Inn greatly appreciates the interest and support of our community – the health and safety of our guests, tenants, volunteers and staff is of utmost importance to us. 

We wanted to let you know about the continued steps we are taking in relation to COVID-19. Working with Boston Health Care for the Homeless, the Boston Public Health Commission and Massachusetts Department of Public Health, we are closely monitoring this rapidly changing situation.

“This is an unprecedented health threat and we are greatly concerned about our community,” said Pine Street President and Executive Director Lyndia Downie. “We continue to put measures in place, working closely with public health partners as we take action to keep our staff, guests and tenants safe.”

We are tremendously grateful for the outpouring of concern from our community. These emergency measures will have a significant impact on the operations of the Inn. To help us manage this unprecedented situation, we have established several ways you can help us continue to provide for those who turn to us.  

If you wish to support these efforts, please know you are helping Pine Street do everything possible to keep our guests and tenants safe.

  1. Make a gift to Pine Street's COVID-19 Emergency Services Fund to help us continue to provide for those who turn to us in our shelters, on the streets, and in housing
  2. Make and mail in cloth face masks for our staff and guests. For details, please email volunteer@pinestreetinn.org. No walk-ins, please, to ensure social distancing.
  3. Purchase items directly from the Pine Street Inn Tenant Wish List on Amazon and help ensure our vulnerable neighbors have access to necessities during this difficult time
  4. Make a gift to Pine Street's Tenant Support Fund and help ensure our vulnerable neighbors have access to necessities during this difficult time

COVID-19 Information

Statement from Pine Street Inn: 

Suffolk University has repurposed a dormitory to provide at least 172 beds, helping reduce congestion and increase social distancing in Boston shelters. This facility will be managed in collaboration between Pine Street Inn and the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), and will accommodate elderly, frail guests, where social distancing is most critical.

Boston University is providing dormitory accommodations for Pine Street staff working long hours and extra shifts, giving a place to rest and regroup.

In order to control the virus and to provide as much social distance as possible, we are currently unable to offer a bed to anyone who has not stayed with Pine Street the prior night; we are doing our best to protect the health and safety of those already staying with us. We are referring new guests to triage staff they can call, and staff will work with people to find an alternative accommodation.

“Pine Street Inn, together with our partners, is taking every precaution to protect our guests and employees,” said Pine Street President and Executive Director Lyndia Downie. “We continue to work closely with public health partners as we take action to keep our staff, guests and tenants safe.”

Background information:

Governor Charlie Baker has ordered non-essential businesses to close and has issued a stay-at-home advisory. Because Pine Street Inn and BPHC provide food and shelter, both are considered essential service organizations and will remain open.

Pine Street has worked with our partners at BPHC and the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) to identify isolation and quarantine sites, including McInnis House, Newton Pavilion and 1515 Commonwealth Avenue, for guests who cannot return to the shelter because of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19. The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center has been transformed into a field hospital with a portion of beds dedicated to members of the homeless community.

Pine Street has implemented the following ongoing steps in relation to COVID-19: 

For those guests who are identified as exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19, we have worked with BHCHP and the City of Boston to send guests to an off-premises location for them to undergo the recommended length of quarantine. 

We are:  

  • Assigning guests the same bed each night. 
  • Serving meals in shifts to provide distance, and cleaning in between groups.  
  • We have installed plastic curtains as barriers between each bed in our dorm areas. 
  • We are storing a 30-day supply of food and cleaning items. 
  • We have contracted with an outside cleaning service to add another layer of daily deep cleaning in our buildings, with special focus on high-touch areas, in addition to cleaning throughout the day. 
  • We continue to advise everyone about frequent and correct handwashing, as well as covering coughs and sneezes with elbows. We have installed additional handwashing stations in all our locations with soap, water and hand sanitizer, and have installed hand sanitizer stations throughout our buildings. 
  • We are prioritizing essential staff onsite at this time, with other staff working remotely.  
  • We have suspended onsite volunteer activities and food donations until further notice.

The City of Boston has taken the following actions specific to the homeless population as part of its COVID-19 response: 

  • There are no plans to close the City’s two emergency shelters, 112 Southampton for men and Woods Mullen for women. Our critical services remain open to those experiencing homelessness. 
  • Screenings are happening to identify guests with symptoms or exposure for COVID-19. Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) is leading those efforts. BPHC will offer support by providing meals, security and trash pickup and other services as needed. 
  • Shelter guests will be referred for observation and support in locations identified by health care providers while awaiting test results and/or needing isolation while ill with COVID-19. 
  • There are both testing/screening facilities (tents) and isolation facilities (tents) at 2 locations: 
    • Boston Health Care for the Homeless in front of Woods Mullen Shelter  
    • Next to the 112 Southampton Shelter  
    •  
  • Infection control:  
    • To further try to reduce overcrowding, dorms and floors are being opened at earlier hours to keep guests spread out. 
    • All regularly and deep cleaning efforts have been increased.  
    • Handwashing stations have been placed in front of each shelter, in addition to already existing stations inside both shelters.  
  • Additional resources have been provided to clients and employees at all of the Commission’s shelters, including hand-sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and tissues.