100WomenStrong aids its Homeless Services Center’s essential workers

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"We can’t take off, staff doesn’t get an opportunity to stay home and be scared -- and many of them are."

LEESBURG, Va. (WDVM) — The frontline workers at the Loudoun Homeless Services Center will be getting a morale boost via their next paychecks. The increase is thanks to $5,000 100WomenStrong donated to the LHSC to help fund its essential services.

“We are an essential service,” said Beth Driggers, executive program director at the LHSC. “We can’t take off, staff doesn’t get an opportunity to stay home and be scared — and many of them are.”

The center is doing what it can. As the virus made its way across the country, Driggers says staff members put a plan in place. There hasn’t been a case of coronavirus in the center.

With the help of the CARES Act, LHSC booked hotel rooms for its guests with underlying health conditions. Temperature checks are required for guests and staff members daily. The center is sanitized hourly. Masks are always required. A separate room has been designated for isolation if someone is ill.

Driggers says the amount of referrals the center has received has doubled in the last week. “I don’t recognize some of the names that are coming in,” Driggers said.

The Loudoun Homeless Services Center is one of eight area nonprofits that 100WomenStrong distributed grants to. Board member Kim Wagner says they’d usually be getting started on their annual grant process at this time of year. Instead, it’s already done.

“The need was so immediate that we just felt like we didn’t have the time to wait for either government to step in or applications elsewhere for other funds to come through,” Wagner said. 100WomenStrong is about to start accepting their second wave of grant applications. Wagner says they’re being flexible.

“Because you address one problem today doesn’t mean that it goes away tomorrow,” Wagner said. “So we understand the organizations are evaluating cause there are some that say, ‘I’m OK today,’ but in the next round they might say, ‘Eh, we’re not really in as great of a position as we thought.’”

The following organizations received a combined $119,500 in emergency donations:

  • Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington (Leesburg office) – $15,000
  • Dulles South Food Pantry – $10,000
  • Good Shepherd Alliance – $7,000
  • HealthWorks for Northern Virginia – $10,000
  • Loudoun Free Clinic – $5,000
  • Loudoun Hunger Relief – $10,000
  • Loudoun Volunteer Caregivers – $7,500
  • Loudoun Homeless Services Center (Volunteers of America of the Chesapeake & Carolinas) – $5,000

The Loudoun Homeless Services Center will get a second opportunity to apply for a grant. Drigger says the guests are at a high risk of contracting the virus. “The fact that they have to congregate a lot more and they don’t have the ability to wash their hands all the time — they don’t always have access to have a brand new mask — that we’re already struggling to find ourselves,” Drigger said. “They’re definitely at a greater risk.”

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