As one of the largest human services providers in Southeastern Massachusetts, People Incorporated is proud of our longstanding capacity to provide critical services and direct care to people of all abilities. Our responsibility to the community is no more evident than in recent weeks as the ubiquitous impacts of COVID-19 have affected the agency significantly, along with nearly everything else in our daily lives.
Our Residential Division maintains its 24-hour operations. It is the largest branch of the agency, employing 500 people who support 150 individuals in 33 homes. Residential employees have implemented heightened caution and are practicing even more intense care.
Some of our programs have temporarily closed. We have adapted others to provide remote services and virtual programming via video or teleconference. Between these and other adjustments, we have experienced unprecedented impacts, including the unfortunate need to place many of our employees on furlough. While we understand this is a difficult time filled with uncertainty, we are optimistic and expect to bring these valued staff members back when the agency returns to full operations.
As in most trying times of crisis, rather than business as usual, we have seen people go above and beyond and experienced many acts of generosity. We have a sharp rise in our equipment and supplemental needs. For example, our Residential employees require even more personal protective equipment (PPE) such as reusable and disposable gloves, masks, and gowns than are usually necessary for daily operations. We have had to purchase large amounts of PPE from local businesses that have stepped up their efforts to make these products available.
We have also accepted generous donations of masks and gloves from Diman Regional Voc. Tec. High School, G. Lopes Construction, and another from Mayor Paul Coogan. We recently learned we are a recipient of a grant from the newly formed SouthCoast Emergency Response Fund, capitalized by local philanthropic donors and administered by the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts. We know we already live in a community of generous residents, but we are deeply appreciative of such exceptional charity.
Above all, we cannot say enough about our staff. Our dedicated employees have stepped up in this uniquely difficult situation and have proved their deep commitment to the people we support. They have indeed demonstrated how they shine in a crisis.
Like nearly every other organization and business, People Incorporated has experienced severe loss, transformation, and unexpected adjustments due to the onset of COVID-19 in our region. However, we remain a key player and devoted neighbor in our community, and we are always committed to the individuals and families who need us most. We look forward to a time when programs return to normal operations, but we also understand that “return to normal” will not be an immediate change of status. There is a lot of work to be done and patience needed – and we are ready to take the necessary steps to ensure that we emerge from this crisis more capable and stronger than before.