Operation COVID Hope

Dear Friends of New Life Center:

Without a doubt, COVID-19 is impacting everyday life. You are a valued supporter of New Life Center and I want to share with you the challenges we are currently facing related to the pandemic.

As COVID-19 numbers rapidly increase in our area, we are implementing emergency protocols aimed at keeping guests and staff safe; we are calling this initiative, “Operation COVID Hope.”

Our first step in Operation COVID Hope was to devise a new plan to serve winter overflow guests. During the cold winter months, the need to provide shelter, food and clothing to men who are homeless increases. Our emergency shelter dorms burst at the seams and, typically, we have met that increased need by opening space in our dining hall and laying mats on the floor for 30-35 extra men who come in from the cold each day. With Operation COVID Hope, this needed to change. We could not maintain safe distancing in that space. We needed to think creatively and collaboratively to come up with a different solution.

Thankfully, the building to the northwest of the Mission was available for rent. We worked with the Mayor and City Planners on this community effort and, with their blessing, we are setting up offsite winter overflow there. We have retrofitted the space to include showers and bathrooms, as well as sleeping and dining spaces. We hired additional personnel to staff the building 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Changes inside of the mission were also needed. Our chapel space was set up as a second dining hall. The computer lab transitioned to sleeping quarters. We rented offsite apartment space for our Genesis program guests and hired more staff to oversee that site 24/7. These changes were required to appropriately distance our emergency shelter guests and ultimately, save lives.

As a result, our budget has taken a hit. Tens of thousands of dollars are required to cover the cost of rental space, as well as hiring personnel to staff the sites. These are costs we did not anticipate when we developed our budget. It is our hope that some of these costs may be reimbursed, but there is no guarantee.

At this time of Thanksgiving and Christmas, we are aware that you receive direct mailings from us encouraging support for holiday meals and the basic needs of our guests. Today, I have a different request. Would you help ease our Operation COVID Hope budget crunch? If you are in a position to provide a special gift before the end of the year to help cover these unanticipated expenses, we would truly appreciate it.

Your gift will help us provide shelter from the cold and safety from the pandemic for up to 116 men each night. Your prayers are also needed for the incredible challenges before us.

We cannot do this without your help. On behalf of those we serve, thank you and God bless.

Rob Swiers, Executive Director