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Supporting the Basic Needs of Staff in a Time of Crisis

With the challenges facing our economy and public assistance programs during COVID-19, it is important to ensure that staff are receiving the support they need to stay safe in terms of housing, food, financial and childcare security. Here are some resources to make sure staff can access as needed: 

Offer free or reduced-cost meals. Times of crisis increase the number of people who experience food insecurity. Your culinary department is already likely making meals that are easier to serve to individuals in their rooms or apartments. Are you able to make additional food for staff? How about for staff to take home to their children?

Access to help. Do you have onsite staff such as a social worker, counselor, chaplain or other spiritual leaders? Set aside time for staff to sign up for appointments with identified specialists to make sure staff are able to cope with added stress at work and at home.

Childcare. Although school districts are offering childcare for healthcare providers, some staff may experience a gap in that access. Is there a way to support staff? One organization, for example, set up an opportunity for staff’s high school aged children to pick up babysitting shifts for staff with daycare aged children.

Transportation. Consider offering an Uber allowance, a bus or van that picks up staff at specific community locations, or sponsoring a carpool sign up. Staff are more likely to need to leave a car a home with significant others or children at home during the day.

Financial assistance. Many staff may be facing situations where family members have been furloughed or laid off, and staff who work multiple jobs may have been laid off themselves. If your organization has emergency funds for staff or the ability to award scholarships, this may be an important time to consider how those funds can be distributed.

Taxes. It’s completely unfair, but this is also tax season. Bring in someone who is able to help staff with their taxes while they are at work. Picking up additional shifts may leave staff with less time to get this done on time.

Resources for kids and other dependents. Many staff may have children at home who are also struggling to cope with their new isolation environments. Provide resources to help staff who are parents or caregivers of others. The CDC has an excellent resources and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network that might help staff manage concerns they are experiencing at home.

External Financial Resources. Help connect staff in need to financial resources, including the United Way emergency help and University of Minnesota CovidSitters.

Community resources. There are many existing community resources as well, but please note that some of these services may be experiencing delays and additional requests at this time. A good place to start is the local Community Action Agency, as they can provide direction based on the person’s need.

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