Shelter navigates helping women safely during pandemic

Posted at 8:57 AM, Nov 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 09:57:55-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Sheffield Place is one of many organizations looking to the city to see if new restrictions will be announced in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"If the city shuts down more or goes back to what we were doing before, we would definitely follow suit," said Kelly Welch, president and CEO of Sheffield Place.

Sheffield Place provides shelter to homeless moms and their children.

Welch said during the pandemic the facility has put in a number of measures residents have to follow in an effort to prevent exposure and reduce the spread of coronavirus.

"They can't come and go as they did before. They have to have a pass and it's to the store or a medical appointment, it's not just I'm out seeing people. They can have visitors, but their visitors have to be approved. They have to wear a mask and they have to visit outside," Welch said.

Mask wearing and social distancing inside the shelter are a few measures Welch said are put in place.

With 17 families, the shelter is at full capacity, and a big change this year compared to previous ones is the Thanksgiving dinner celebration.

"We'll separate families. We'll have families eating in the kitchen, in the lobby. We'll have families eating in our laundry room just so we can spread out people enough to have that event," she explained.

Welch said while many programs and facilities closed during the pandemic, Sheffield Place remained open so the people they help don't return to previous issues - such as drug addiction or homelessness.

The shelter created groups tailored to different issues to help residents manage their anxiety during the pandemic.

"You're in a pandemic and have all this added stress and added anxiety, then your chances of overdoses are higher, abusing more are higher. Your kids are not in school, your kid's not getting the care they need because you're trying to self-medicate. So, we felt like it was critical that at the time we stayed open and engaged," Welch said.