Against the Odds, Homeless Shelter Remains COVID-Free, Prepares for Homelessness Increase

Central Union Mission



Contact: Deborah Chambers

VP, Development and Partnerships
Cell: 202-534-9965

Against the Odds,

Homeless Shelter Remains COVID-Free,

Prepares for Homelessness Increase

Washington, DC—August 19, 2020—Nationwide, the death toll from COVID-19 currently stands at nearly 170,000 people. People living in homelessness certainly are among the most vulnerable and have not been spared. In Washington, DC, alone, an estimated 338 people living on the street have contracted COVID-19 and at least 21 have died.

Despite these grim statistics, Central Union Mission has not had one confirmed case of COVID-19 infection at any of its ministry sites

Giving Tuesday

Early and effective preventative measures like utilization of a virus-killing UV light Portal donated by Washington Capitals player Lars Eller, strict cleaning and mask-wearing protocols and daily health evaluations and body temperature checks were the first phase of prevention measures. Later, going to a set-bed list and requiring strict sheltering-in-place for all guests have prevented the virus from getting into the shelter, which would be catastrophic in this dormitory-style setting.

In addition, several Mission residents who are employed in jobs with essential businesses were moved into the Mission’s Lambert House transition home to further enhance our social distancing efforts, and some of our senior citizens were moved into special protective housing provided by DC Government.

According to Mission President & CEO Joe Mettimano, “We thank God that the people in our care remain healthy at this point and we are working hard to keep it that way. In addition, we need to be equipped for a potential influx of people experiencing homelessness and poverty due to layoffs and the struggling local economy. We can see it already: the average number of individuals receiving food at our Family Ministry Center has risen from 4,000 to 7,000 each month, which includes a 50 percent increase in the number of emergency food seekers.”

The Mission continues to meet regularly with the city’s Interagency Council on Homelessness and its peers to consult and cooperate on current COVID-19 strategies. Central Union Mission is supported solely by private donations. Please contact Deborah Chambers at 202-534-9965 or for more information.

About Central Union Mission:

Central Union Mission is a faith-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the oldest private social service agency in Washington, DC. In addition to its emergency shelter, which provides
more than 60,000 bed-nights each year, the Mission operates a holistic, Christ-centered transformation and workforce development program for men, provides benefits for veterans, helps people overcome addictions, operates a food and clothing distribution center which provides food for over 4000 people each month, runs a camp for underprivileged children, and offers a ministry to families and senior citizens. Charity Navigator has rated Central Union Mission, GuideStar awarded Central Union Mission a Gold Seal for our financial transparency and GreatNonProfits has given Central Union Mission a Top-Rated award.

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