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Frontline Workers Brave Risk to Keep Shelter Open

via Lazarus House

If gratitude can help calm fear, the frontline workers at the Lazarus House emergency Shelter are rewarded each day for the peril of leaving their homes. In the midst of the pandemic, they are anxiously trying to keep it open for the families and individuals for whom it is their only sanctuary. “The Guests at the shelter don’t have people they can rely on. A lot of the people don’t have anyone else in the world. Their fear is, ‘If I lose Lazarus House, where will I go?’” said Almarie Silverman, Director of Advocacy, who especially worries about a woman who is nine months pregnant. Another staff member working to keep it open is Carmen Vega, Shelter Coordinator, who comes in each day feeling her family’s worry she will bring COVID-19 home. She only recently was able to wear a mask. “We didn’t have masks, so I felt it wasn’t fair if I was wearing a mask and my staff could not,” Vega said. Vega said the shelter “smells like bleach,” as the staff and shelter Guests thoroughly follow the protocol – taking precautions of social distancing, wearing masks and regularly disinfecting common areas. They all know that does not completely eliminate the risk, but they all hope to stay at the only place they have left. “It’s scary. I am a woman of faith, so I pray and ask God to cover me,” said Vega. “My family would wish that I wouldn’t come in, but this is my job. This is what I love to do.”


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