COVID-19 Update

 

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 precautionary 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 precautionary measures in place, working closely with public health partners as we take action to keep our staff, guests and tenants safe.”


How you can help Pine Street in this time of crisis

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.

Right now we are in need of volunteers to help operate as food delivery drivers. Please contact us at info@pinestreetinn.org with your phone number and the position you are interested in, and we will follow up with you. Please be sure to wait to hear back from us before coming in to the shelter, as we will be unable to accomodate walk-ins. Thank you!

To help us manage this unprecedented situation, we have established two funds so that we can continue to provide for those who turn to us in our shelters, on the streets, and in housing.  

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 Tenant Support Fund and help ensure our vulnerable neighbors have access to necessities during this difficult time
  2. 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

 


Pine Street is implementing the following:

  • We have begun to screen every guest prior to shelter entry, in order to identify anyone with COVID-19 symptoms and/or who has come from the specific countries/locations the CDC has noted. Boston Health Care for the Homeless (BHCHP) is conducting the screenings.
  • 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.
  • We are installing plastic barriers between beds to set off space.
  • We are serving meals in shifts to provide distance, and cleaning in between groups.
  • 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, guests and tenants onsite at this time, with other staff working remotely.
  • We have suspended onsite volunteer activities and are unable to accept food donations until further notice.

We will keep you updated on any new developments. Again, our thanks for your continued support. 


 

COVID-19 Update  

March 26, 2020 
 

Note to media: 

Pine Street Inn is allowing only essential staff and guests onsite at this time. To protect the health and safety of our community, we will not allow any media interviews/photography at our shelters. Thank you for your cooperation. 
 

Statement from Pine Street Inn: 

Pine Street Inn has been informed that an individual who stayed at Boston-area shelters, including Pine Street, has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is currently hospitalized at a Boston-area hospital. The shelters involved are working with various health partners, including the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), to track others who may have been in contact with this individual. For weeks, we have been preparing for this eventuality, and we are continuing to implement measures to minimize the spread of COVID-19 among individuals experiencing homelessness.   

Together with Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, Pine Street continues to screen every guest prior to shelter entry to identify anyone with COVID-19 symptoms and/or who has come from the specific countries/locations the CDC has noted. With more than 3,200 screenings conducted at Pine Street thus far, the results of 54 tests from shelter sites citywide are pending and expected back in a few days.  

“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 continues to work with our partners at BPHC and the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) to identify isolation and quarantine sites for guests who cannot return to the shelter because of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19.  

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 3 locations: 
    • Boston Health Care for the Homeless in front of Woods Mullen Shelter  
    • Next to the 112 Southampton Shelter  
    • Pine Street Inn (screening only at this time)  
  • 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. 

 

Media Contacts: 

Stacy Grisinger, Elevate Communications, 617.785.6886, sgrisinger@elevatecom.com 

Barbara Trevisan, Pine Street Inn, 617.460.3022, barbara.trevisan@pinestreetinn.org 

Caitlin McLaughlin, Boston Public Health Commission, 857.393.0002, cmclaughlin@bphc.org 

 
 

###