Casa Youth Shelter to remain open

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One of the rooms available to teens in crisis at Casa Youth Shelter.

Through war and peace, now Coronavirus, the Casa Youth Shelter has not closed for a single day since it was opened by Myldred E. Jones in 1978.

“The youth who seek help at Casa Youth Shelter are among the most vulnerable in our community. At this time, we are committed to continuing to provide much needed shelter, food, and counseling to teens in need,” according to an email from the shelter.

Though Casa vowed to remain open, officials there say they are taking extraordinary precautions to keep the staff and tenants safe. “The health and safety of our clients and staff is always our primary concern, so we have made some adjustments to our program to ensure the health and safety of our people,” the email noted.

According to the notice, here are the steps being taken by Casa Youth Shelter to remain open during the crisis.

  • We are modifying our crisis call and intake procedures to include recommended questions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If a minor is unwell and presents with symptoms consistent with the coronavirus, we will request a medical evaluation and note prior to admission.
  • We have implemented strict hygiene and cleanliness procedures throughout the shelter, including hand washing, maintaining 6-foot distance when possible, and regularly disinfecting common areas and frequently used surfaces and objects.
  • Offsite outings have been canceled.
  • Visitors to the shelter will be limited. No group tours will be scheduled through the end of April.
  • We are developing emergency staffing protocols, including remote work where possible, limiting staffing to essential personnel, and requiring quarantine after travel.
  • We will strive to maintain a 30-day stock of emergency supplies at the shelter, including food, linens, toilet paper, paper towels, and other cleaning materials.
  • We will continue to monitor the situation, and follow guidance from the CDC and local health departments.

Though the shelter will remain open, they did postpone several events, including;

  • Reality Party (scheduled for March 14)
  • Los Alamitos Thrive Teen Expo Conference (scheduled for April 4)
  • Awareness through Art Open House (scheduled for April 25)
  • Youth Leadership Program meetings cancelled through March

They said parenting classes, however, would continue.

“As a friend of Casa Youth Shelter, you know that the wellbeing of our youth is our highest priority. Many of our teens are particularly susceptible, not only to this new virus, but to other physical and mental illnesses that stem from the trauma of living on the streets or experiencing significant crisis,” according to Casa.

“Your support is a lifeline for these youth. We appreciate you standing by us during – and after – this crisis. It is your support that allows our staff to continue their quietly courageous work. Your support keeps our youth safe.”

Casa Youth Shelter officials acknowledged a “rapidly evolving crisis” and committed itself to remain “vigilant.”