Adapting to COVID-19

Like many New Yorkers, we nervously watched the number of coronavirus cases begin to rise in the city during the beginning of March. As we learned more about the virus and how quickly it can spread indoors, it became clear that, due to its dormitory-style setup, The Dwelling Place could not provide safe shelter for its residents without risking the spread of illness.

To complicate matters further, we learned that, after six years as administrative director, Sister Joann Sambs, OSF, would be leaving The Dwelling Place to take on a new role of service caring for the sisters living in her community’s retirement center in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. As we faced the loss of Sister Joann and the challenges caused by the pandemic, we made the difficult decision to temporarily close our doors while we considered our next steps. The women who were in our care during the height of the pandemic were placed in temporary housing with one of our partner organizations.

Since then, we have been busy preparing to welcome the women back to The Dwelling Place. In just a few short months, we have hired a new administrative director, addressed critical safety issues in the building, expanded our grant applications, and begun planning for the future. Although the mission of The Dwelling Place – caring and advocating for women experiencing homelessness – remains the same, the layout of our dormitories, our dining room, and other parts of our building must change in order to keep all who enter it safe.

We remain committed to reopening The Dwelling Place. The need for our services has increased dramatically. The pandemic has forced us to cancel all of our in-person fundraising events for the remainder of the year, including our annual gala. To make up for this unforeseen financial shortfall, we are busy exploring new and creative ways to raise funds, including our first virtual fundraiser, “Bring the Ladies Home for the Holidays,” which is scheduled for Nov. 16 to 20. More details will be available soon.

On Oct. 28, Tory Burch will host an exclusive in-person shopping event in support of The Dwelling Place from 5 to 7 p.m. at its store in New York City’s Meatpacking District. Twenty percent of the proceeds will benefit The Dwelling Place. Reservation is required. Please contact cstanley@toryburch.com if you wish to attend. Invite your friends!

The homeless women that we serve need us now more than ever, and we cannot reopen without your help. Please consider making a donation today. Your donation will help us to complete the necessary alterations to our building so that we can safely reopen. After we are able to begin operating again, your continued support will provide us with urgently needed items such as thermometers, hand sanitizing dispensers, individually-wrapped food items, feminine hygiene products, laptop computers that the women will use to search for jobs, and other operating expenses.

On behalf of all the women that we have helped in the past, and all those we hope to help in the future, we thank you for your ongoing support of The Dwelling Place of NY.