Serving Our Community During the Pandemic

This is an unprecedented and difficult time for people all over the world. At HSVS, we are adjusting to the rapidly changing environment in order to continue to provide services to the vulnerable New Yorkers we care for while making sure we keep our staff safe.

We are committed to making sure our work moves forward with our clients and their basic needs are met, especially if they are quarantined and / or there is a confirmed COVID case in a home. This has meant providing services we have never provided before, including delivering food to clients who cannot leave their homes and starting a dry goods food pantry.

In the long term, we have an eye toward how these changes can improve the quality of the work we do for our clients. It’s clear that there will be hard times ahead. Our goal is not only to get through the crisis, but also for HSVS to emerge stronger as an organization, better equipped to help our clients in the years to come.

Dawn Saffayeh, Executive Director

Each HSVS program will create a plan targeting entry back into the workplace in July. This will guarantee sufficient staff preparation and will allow for modifications to be made to the office spaces to allow for safety. The following outlines initial agency guiding principles:

Reduce unnecessary travel to worksites
• Wherever possible, reduce the number of times per week employees come into the building and the duration they are in the building.

Provide clarity of expectations
• Be very clear about what tasks employees should be doing at their worksites, in the community and what can be done remotely.

Provide clean and socially distant workstations
• Workstations will maintain appropriate distance / segmentation between each person in many cases but appropriate distance will also be achieved through rotating schedules. For example, in rooms where there are 4 desks the schedule will be worked out so there are no more than 2 people in that room at any given time.
• Everyone should be able to come to a work station that is regularly sanitized and is safely distanced.
• Masks must be worn in all common spaces. In private rooms where there are shared workstations, masks must also be worn unless the person is alone or can achieve 6 feet of distance comfortably.
• Cleaning Stations and hand sanitizer stations will be set up across all work spaces with cleaning products for individual use.


Ensure every employee has the tools they need
• This includes laptops, cell phones and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Resume in-person client interactions (when safe)
• Our clients need us to get back to in person work. We will commit to doing this as much as we can, safely, and provide appropriate spaces for these interactions.
• Home visits and client interactions will occur in the community, outdoors when possible and are the priority item to ramp up for May and June.
• Renovation at 66 Boerum Place will create new, safe spaces for clients: Spaces to meet with clients that are large and well ventilated and allow for social distancing will be created. There will be adequate space for all interactions including: family visits, family team conferences and other lengthy discussion meetings with clients, individual and family therapy, transactional client meetings.

Continue to provide more resources for clients
• Beyond Food for Families Program (see link below) we will continue to adapt to meet the changing needs of clients during this unprecedented time

Committment to revisiting the plan
• As the pandemic news changes, we will be flexibly in revisiting these expectations.

Food for Families

We've created a new program to address the food insecurity facing many of our clients

Learn More