Here's how we're operating in the pandemic.

Have you seen increased violence against survivors during the stay-at-home order and what are you doing to combat that?

We’re definitely seeing increased contacts for help. We know that while anxiety and stress don’t cause abuse within a relationship, they can exacerbate the problem. As we see more stress and more anxiety, we may see more people who are hurt or even killed during this time by domestic violence.

How is Coburn Place handling clients who have COVID-19 or are exhibiting symptoms?

We’ve had no positive tests for anyone living or working at Coburn Place. We’re trying to be very positive about social distancing and the stay-at-home order. Our approach has always been survivor-centered in that our transitional housing on site is done in 35 separate apartments. Like any apartment complex, it’s made up of separate, private homes, so our residents can self-isolate in their own homes. We’re screening residents as they come and go and are encouraging them and expecting them to abide by the the stay-at-home order like we are all doing.

How are you minimizing the risk for your residents and staff?

We’re being very diligent about the measures we’re taking because we don’t want to put anyone living or working at Coburn Place at risk. We provided residents and staff with Clorox Wipes, Lysol spray and masks early on. Our staff starting working remotely on March 13, 2020, and is moving back to the building in phases. We also built an enclosure around the front desk to ensure social distancing.

How can I support Coburn Place right now?

The best thing you can do right now is become a monthly donor. Even a small amount goes a long way when a number of people collectively support the mission. We need your support.

How is working with emergency shelters different right now?

Housing is critical for survivors of domestic violence. We know they need an immediate place to flee to, and we haven’t traditionally been that place. We aren’t an emergency shelter. It’s hard for anyone to physically distance in that kind of co-living space, and it adds another layer of uncertainty and fear for the survivor. Some survivors are choosing to stay in an abusive situation or their cars instead of risking exposure. We are working in partnership with other organizations and programs to get victims to immediate, safe spaces.

For survivors moving into community-based housing – what does that look like right now?

There are some definite challenges right now because, just like everyone else, landlords and property managers are working remotely or self-isolating. We’ve been working with partner programs to encourage them to do virtual tours to avoid in-person showings. We’ve been making things happen, it’s just taking a bit longer than usual.

What are Coburn Place’s biggest needs right now?

We have an immediate need for nonperishable pantry items and household items. Please purchase items from our Amazon Wish List.

How has the pandemic affected survivors’ transportation options? Do you still need IndyGo passes or is there another way we can help facilitate safe, necessary travel?

IndyGo was free at the start of the pandemic, but now we need those passes. Understandably, many survivors are scared to use public transportation right now. Some of them have to go to work or to medical appointments, and we’re encouraging them to take precautions on the bus to limit their exposure to COVID-19.

How has the pandemic affected employment opportunities for survivors?

Most of our survivors are dealing with economic uncertainty already. Just like the rest of the community, some of our residents have lost their jobs or had to leave their jobs due to a loss of child care. But many are working from home or are considered essential workers.

How are our advocates doing case management right now?

Luckily, mobile advocacy has been a core component of our model for quite some time, but we’re doing it exclusively now.

What challenges are families facing with children at home and how is Coburn Place supporting them?

They’re under a lot of stress. It’s a difficult time. We are helping any way we can. We’re providing activities children can do and families can do together, and we’re giving the kids care packages with healthy snacks. Staying at home all the time is hard for everyone right now, and it’s especially challenging for our single parents.

What can people do to help since we can’t volunteer in person?

We know it’s not the same, but you can help us at home by packing diapers, sorting trash bags, printing activity sheets, and making Welcome Home cards and masks. You can find all these opportunities here.