Central Union Mission



Contact: Deborah Chambers
VP, Development and Partnerships
Cell: 202-534-9965



Washington, DC—August 9, 2022—With more than 300 cases reported, Washington, D.C., is leading the nation in monkeypox cases per capita. Of those 300 cases, a growing number is attributed to the homeless population in the city, and it is a cause for concern. Though monkey pox is believed to be spread only through skin-to-skin contact, it is likely that just one case could lead to an outbreak within a shelter.

“When we start to see it happening at that very small level within the homeless community, it typically blows up pretty fast within the shelters,” Mission President and CEO Joe Mettimano said. “Because this is a communal sleeping environment, there’s a lot of close contact here whether people are eating meals together or sleeping in the same room. So, it certainly raises our sense of alert.”

Federal officials have officially declared monkeypox a public health emergency and have put plans in motion to expedite vaccine distributions. Many city residents are pre-registering for the vaccine, but the homeless citizens who have less access to the internet and are unable to get on the list, are hopeful that city officials will remember this often forgot about community and make them a priority to receive the vaccine. People experiencing homelessness often face health challenges exacerbated by unstable living arrangements. The monkeypox disease presents a significant risk to those who live in close quarters with limited access to on-demand hygiene care.

The Mission will continue to deliver all services without interruption and is committed to keep our guests sheltered, fed and safe. Screening procedures for monkeypox, in addition to the current COVID-19 protocols, will now be implemented upon entering the shelter.

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 holistic, Christ-centered transformation and workforce development programs for men, provides benefits for veterans, helps people overcome addictions, operates a food and clothing distribution center which provides food for over 4,000 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 a three-star charity, Candid 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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