Amidst the heartbreak and frustration of the global pandemic, we find hope in moments of kindness and community… and we recently found some close to home.
At our San Antonio Fairweather Family Lodge, a supportive housing program that assists women experiencing homelessness (and their children) to achieve security, stability, and self-sufficiency, the stressors of the pandemic hit particularly hard.
Residents of the Fairweather Family Lodge come to us with heartbreaking backstories of job loss, domestic violence, disability, and mental health illnesses. These women are vulnerable in every sense of the word. But when they come to the Fairweather Family Lodge, our team offers them asylum, a safe and secure place to develop job and life skills training, raise their children, and find a job that will eventually empower them to leave the lodge and build a brand new life.
It’s not an easy process — many of these women have to overcome battles with addiction, depression, or other mental health illnesses. But they leave strong, independent, and full of life.
Our team wasn’t about to let COVID get in the way of that.
An Unprecedented Crisis
When schools closed, lay-offs began, and San Antonio issued its stay-at-home order, the Fairweather Family Lodge remained a safe haven.
While some residents left the campus temporarily to stay with local friends or family, many remained. Lodge Coordinator Martha Perez explains that the challenges our residents faced during the quarantine included “lack of daycare, loss or reduction of work hours, having to be the teacher for their children, and having their weekdays and weekends blend together.” She also mentioned that the “moms were not able to take a break during this time, and stress levels began to increase.”
For even, the most organized, adaptable, and laid-back among us, quarantine has really put us through the wringer, and our nation’s collective mental health has taken a beating. In addition to the physical wellbeing of our residents, our staff became concerned about their mental health, too. For many of them, the FFL is the first step up from the bottom, and being pushed back down by circumstances out of their control could very well lead to a downhill spiral.
If there’s one thing we know at Endeavors, it’s that no one should have to go through tough times alone. So, the staff went above and beyond, jumping into action to help the residents every way they could.
A social-distancing rotation schedule was quickly put together for staff (who were considered essential workers) to stop by the FFL and check on residents while teleworking. Two staff monitors continued to work full-time on campus, volunteering to serve as the “boots on the ground” during the crisis, an act of volunteerism that truly blew us away. And for every problem posed by the quarantine, the staff created a solution.
Behind the scenes, our staff worked to secure donations of masks and over $10,000 worth of food through partnerships with San Antonio Threads and other nonprofit and philanthropic organizations. During the time of grocery and supply shortages, the staff made multiple trips a day to the store to find essential supplies for their residents. They initiated a vigilant hourly disinfecting schedule, ensuring the residential spaces were as safe as possible and created a schedule for common area and kitchen use to assist with social-distancing between residents.
When schools closed, our staff coordinated with Westwood Terrace Elementary to set up distance learning at the FFL.
When daycares closed, they volunteered alongside other residents to provide childcare for the working mothers.
When cabin fever became a threat, they caringly put together self-care bags with snacks and activities for the residents.
Day after day, the team took problem-solving to a whole new pandemic level. The generosity and dedication of our staff blew us away, reminding us how fortunate we are to work with such an amazing team. As the COVID crisis continues to develop, our team remains dedicated to serving our FFL residents and all of our Endeavors clients by meeting every resident and client where they are in their path to a safer, healthier, and happier life.
About The Fairweather Family Lodge
At the Fairweather Family Lodge, Endeavors® provides permanent supportive housing, case management, professional counseling, life skills training, and employment opportunities for chronically homeless women in San Antonio with disabilities and their children so that they can achieve a life full of stability, success, and self-sufficiency in an apartment-style campus.
Endeavors® is a San Antonio nonprofit that serves vulnerable people in crisis through our innovative, personalized approach. Established in 1977, Endeavors’ Housing Program is its longest-running initiative. Its goal is to provide permanent supportive housing to female veterans, as well as individuals and families with mental illness and/or disabilities. Our Housing Services programs are located in San Antonio, Texas, and Fayetteville, North Carolina.