Letter from NEMCSA Executive Director/CEO

March 24, 2020

This week Governor Whitmer, in an effort to protect all Michiganders, signed Executive Order 2020-21 that directs residents to remain at home or in their place of residence to the maximum extent feasible. A summary of her “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order is available online.

At this time our agency will be making the necessary adjustments to ensure our staff are as safe as possible while maintaining a remote work location, if feasible. It is important to note that many of NEMCSA’s functions fall under:

To work or volunteer for businesses or operations (including both and religious and secular nonprofit organizations) that provide food, shelter, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, individuals who need assistance as a result of this emergency, and people with disabilities.

NEMCSA offices are closed to the public. However, people needing assistance can call 1-989-358-4600 to make an appointment or by completing the online referral form on www.nemcsa.org

Select staff will keep working with limited contact with others and social distancing that perform necessary critical business functions. Below are the latest updates regarding NEMCSA’s program availability during this this time.

Early Childhood Services

Early Childhood Services (ECS) has closed all classrooms and suspended home visits beginning March 16 through April 13, 2020 to align with mandated K-12 school district closures. If the date for school districts to re-open is extended, ECS will follow the same timeline. Our employees are continuing to engage families and deliver services to the extent possible, remotely.

School Success Partnership

School Success has also aligned with mandated K-12 school district closures. Staff are continuing to engage families and deliver services to the extent possible, remotely.

Food Commodities

Commodity Supplemental Food Program CSFP: Distributions are being held at the same time and place as current published schedules. Pre-packed boxes are delivered to individuals who are asked to remain in their cars and have their trunk emptied. Possibility of delivering two months of commodities at a time to reduce person-to-person contact is being explored. Large volunteer groups have been suspended, resulting in a greater reliance on staff to pack boxes in preparation for distributions.

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP): The next distributions (quarterly) are scheduled for May. NEMCSA will follow state guidelines as received.

Weatherization Assistance Program

Intake still processing referrals and applications remotely and responding to any client issues. Face to face interaction between clients, contractors and NEMCSA staff has been suspended per direction of the Department of Energy. Staff no longer able to perform Weatherization role have been temporarily assigned to assist Food Programs while also completing desk work and training relevant to their role within Weatherization.

Heat and Utility Assistance Program

Currently out of funding for utility assistance. Seeking alternative funding and continuing to make referrals to other area organizations. Staff are also contacting utility companies to see what options may be available to individuals during the pandemic designation.

Emergency Shelter Program

Normal business hours-staff working remotely. Staff are seeking additional motels to contract with to accommodate increased homeless needs in the area as result of area shelters closing or denying entry of new individuals.

Foreclosure and Homebuyer Education Programs

Foreclosure Services Program: Paperwork is being sent through the mail or email. Once paperwork is received, an appointment is scheduled by phone and the counseling is completed.

Homeless Prevention Program (ESG) & Consolidated RRH Home visits will be conducted electronically through skype or phone calls. Initial intakes will be done through phone and verbal signatures will be obtained in lieu of documents. Inspections for evictions are waived and can proceed for payment. All other inspections operational as normal. All case managers, intake staff and the supervisor are working from home.

Self Sufficient Programs

Family Self-Sufficiency Program: Quarterly contacts are being made by phone or electronically.

Financial Capability Program: Classes are being offered electronically through eHome America. Follow up is being done electronically or by phone.

Senior Programs

Care Management/MI Choice Waiver Program: All Care Managers and Intake Specialists are remotely working and all participants are being called and monitored. Services are continuing to the extent providers are still engaged, assessments and reassessments being conducted by phone.

Congregate Meals: All Commission on Agings (COAs) are still providing this service apart from two, Montmorency and Oscoda counties. Meals are being offered as a drive thru service.

Evidenced Based Disease Prevention Program: Classes suspended until further notice. Home

Delivered Meals: Ongoing Food delivered to door or handed to participants.

Homemaker, Personal Care & Respite: All Non-essential services are suspended. COAs are screening participants and staff prior to visits.

Long Term Care Ombudsman Program: All complaints/ and concerns are being handled telephonically. Nursing homes and other care facilities are on lockdown.

Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP): All counselling being handled telephonically. Staff and volunteers in communities are all counselling by phone only.

Senior Community Service Employment Program (Title V): Program stations have suspended program activities.

Senior Corp Volunteer Programs

Volunteer Program staff continue to work remotely as many grants and reports are coming due.

Foster Grandparent Program: This program is temporarily suspended until schools re-open.

Senior Companion Program: This program is temporally suspended due to nursing homes being closed to visitors and that most peer-to-peer clients do not want visitors during this time.

Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP): This volunteer service has been suspended due to age of volunteers as most at risk.

 

The safety of all clients and staff are a priority to us. We will keep you informed on any further actions going forward.

Thanks for your consideration and support!

Lisa Bolen, Executive Director/CEO

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

March 18- 2020

As concerns over the Coronavirus continues to rise, our agency is monitoring the situation carefully and taking guidance/direction from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), our local Public Health Department, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHDS).  We are watching and monitoring all emails, announcements, recommendations and mandates.

As we need to be available for those we serve, we will continue with business (when possible) with some additional precautions. 

Per the MDHHS guidelines for Community Mitigation Strategies issued on March 11, 2020, all individuals should continue to take the following basic personal hygiene measures to prevent the spread of the virus:

  •  Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid handshakes.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick. 


MDHHS has set up a hotline at 888-535-6136 to answer health-related questions about the virus. It'll be open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. seven days a week.  Please feel free to pass this along to anyone that may need this information.

We will work together and support one another during this challenging time. We are relying on those who are charged with managing this health crisis and we will do exactly as they direct us to protect the public.  In the meantime, use universal precautions as we should always do.

Above all, Thank You everyone for you concern, commitment and compassion for the individuals we serve and the courageous work that you do each day.  As more information becomes available to us, we will continue to provide updates to you. 

Sincerely,
Lisa Bolen, CEO/Executive Director