Four weeks ago, Abilty1st announced that to protect staff, our doors will remain locked during the day. Appointments are made by telephone only and picking up medical equipment loans and supplies need to be arranged ahead of time. The arrival of COVID-19 in our community created this strange, sad, and unprecedented action. In my 20-plus years working at Ability1st, we have never kept our door locks during regular business hours. At that time, we also stated that WE ARE HERE for our consumers. We promised to do our best to provide the vital services that our consumers, people living with disabilities, count on.
It has been a challenge for me and other human service agency directors to determine how to keep staff safe and still be available to our consumers. But the Ability1st has risen to the occasion. Our doors may be locked, but the service continues. In past week, Ability1st staff members Pamela Sykes, Kimberly Blan, Dee Humose and Bruce Weaver worked to get three adults, members of our community, moved from homelessness into stable housing. Ms. Blan also worked with a consumer to getting her benefits reinstated from the Social Security Administration after being without income for almost a year. That consumer can now pay her rent. Savannah Middlebrooks, who oversees the Ability1st medical equipment loan program, secured a power wheelchair for resident of the Kearney Center. That resident has plans to begin a new job soon. Our High School High Tech Coordinator, Chris Carlberg, has transitioned the student meetings to Zoom, so the students can still participate, learn and socialize within the HSHT program. These are just a few examples of the work being accomplished from a social distance.
It is important that we all, Ability1st staff, consumers, and community at large, do all we can to stay healthy and safe. But rest assured, we are still working. It may be behind locked doors, standing 6 feet apart, and wearing a mask, but WE ARE HERE FOR YOU.