July 14, 2020: A Statement from Tom Collishaw, CEO of Self-Help Enterprises:
As the global pandemic continues to affect virtually all of our social and business interactions, the health and safety of our staff and participants remains our top priority. SHE is following all directives from state and local officials in addition to guidance from the CDC. Our offices remain closed to the general public, even though a small support team is staffing our main office following safe and healthy protocols. We are making plans for gradual office reopening, though recent surges in infection rates have delayed their implementation. Our staff working in the field are following strict guidelines for interactions with members of the community.
We remain committed to our participants and funding partners to continue delivery of services and creating opportunities in our communities during uncertain times. Specific program information on COVID-19 operations can found below. In the meantime, stay safe and wear a mask!
Staff can be reached at their direct phone number and email and general inquiries can be made at 559-651-1000.
Community Development: Community Development programs, including sewer, water and energy, continue operations with appropriate work accommodations during the pandemic. The majority of staff are working from home with cell phone, remote access to files, and continue daily activities including coordination with State and Federal funding agencies, Counties, Districts, project partners and community partners. Our Leadership Institute workshops are now virtual utilizing ZOOM, more information here. To protect your health and safety, and that of our staff, we are only conducting limited community outreach activities following social distancing while taking personal protective measures, including wearing masks. We have conference lines and ZOOM accounts available to facilitate teleconferencing of public meetings. Please contact us if you need access to a conference line or ZOOM account.
Our commitment to serving our communities continues during this time. Please do not hesitate to contact us via the normal communication channels.
Drinking Water for Schools Program: DWFS SHE Program Staff encourages contracted schools to contact Cecilia Vela firstname.lastname@example.org if they are concerned about meeting DWFS deadlines or regarding the feasibility of their projects amid COVID-19 closures.
Self-Help Housing: At building sites, construction will continue in all areas where allowed by local health authorities. All participants and family volunteers are being educated on safe habits, including hand-washing, refraining from touching face, regular cleaning of commonly used objects (such as hand tools that are shared), and coughing/sneezing into the inside of elbows. Social distancing practices are being practiced on site, and people are being asked to stay home if they feel sick (particularly for the big 3 symptoms identified from the virus – fever, cough, or shortness of breath.)
Emergency Services Program: At the moment, our Emergency Services Program Team is only taking calls for folks needing emergency access to water. All other service calls, including water well assessment requests are on hold until further notice.
Emergency Preparedness: Our partner Friends of Tulare County has been working diligently to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reaching out to many of our diverse groups in Tulare County through TV and Radio commercials. Click here to view videos in a variety of different languages.
Real Estate Development: Real Estate Development has suspended all non-essential meetings and travel, but is proceeding with construction and development activities as planned. Projects under construction, including rehabilitation of units, is proceeding with precautions being implemented. We are available to participate in design meetings, engagement with local government partners, and other meetings via teleconference.
The Gateway Program: The Homeownership Counseling and Education Program is currently functioning as normal with all classes and one-on-one sessions via phone. We ask participants to submit documentation via upload to our website rather than mailing or emailing.
Volunteer Opportunities: We are not scheduling any new volunteers until further notice.
Rehabilitation Program: Our Housing Rehabilitation Department has suspended all non-essential meetings and travel, but is proceeding with participant financing applications and construction activities as planned. Projects under construction, including rehabilitation of units, is proceeding with precautions being implemented.
Rental Housing Sites:
- Safe practices related to COVID-19 are posted in multiple areas at each site.
- Additional cleaning of open and communal spaces is being implemented, including playground equipment, computer labs, stairways and other common areas.
- Site managers remain on duty. Maintenance staff are still on duty facilitating necessary protocols to handle unit repair needs.
- Resident Communication – Site managers and SHE are providing communication in various forms to residents during this time. This includes emails, posted memos and phone calls to residents. We are responding to all supply requests from our residents.
- Afterschool programs have been suspended
- Head Start programs in Wasco and Madera will continue to operate.
- Computer labs remain open for individual resident and student needs.
- Community Centers are closed to all large gatherings. All partner programs and services are postponed.
- Health Services – Health services related to COVID-19 are allowed to take place at the sites.
- Housing Applications – Applications remain available at our sites. Site Managers can provide applications.