These are challenging times. As we continue to serve the community we love so much, First United is monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic closely and taking steps to respond to keep everyone safe. I wanted to reach out to share with you what we’re doing. 

We know that this pandemic will hurt people already marginalized the mostpeople living in poverty, those without housing or in cramped and substandard housing, low-wage and gig-economy workers, people who use drugs, people with disabilities or with poor health, sex workers, and migrant workers. Social distancing in response to the pandemic is so hard when you’re homeless or in substandard housing. Stocking up on supplies isn’t possible when you’re already living hand-to-mouth. Our resources – already stretched thin to serve our community – will be truly tested.

COVID-19 presents us with significant challenges, but I am heartened by what’s possible when we work together. We have been adjusting our services to make sure our community does not get left out in the cold. Below, I have shared details of our pandemic response plan.

I want to share my immense gratitude for the donations that continue to come in. This support keeps our operations going, and allows us to be as responsive as we can in this troubling time. If you have been able to support: Thank you. If you are able, we are in critical need of your donations to keep our community safe.

First United Pandemic Response principles:

Thanks to the efforts and creativity of our staff, we have not closed any essential programming, aside from public access to showers. (Showers are still available for our shelter guests.)

We have made adjustments to how we offer critical services to our community, to minimize the spread of infection.

Service changes:

Additional Actions: 

We will partner with local United Church congregations to take pressure off of food banks and ensure shut-ins currently living in our housing have access to adequate food and care packages from the wider community. Watch the Pacific Mountain Region communications emails and an update directly to our supporters coming soon for more information.

Our first priority remains people: our incredible and dedicated staff, our shelter residents and tenants in our housing, the Downtown Eastside community and our broader community of support. I’m holding you all in my thoughts and prayers. We will get through this together.

Clean hands, open hearts.⁠