KSHB 41: Children's Mercy, Synergy Services partner to help keep shelter doors open
By Gabriella Pagán
Youth experiencing homelessness face additional challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For starters, unlike adults experiencing homelessness, unaccompanied youth cannot be given a hotel room alone when shelters are at capacity.
Even before the pandemic, that posed a problem for Synergy Services, which helps children experiencing homelessness among other community outreach efforts and was nearly at capacity before COVID-19 struck.
Children's Mercy Hospital and Synergy Services have partnered for years, and it's their ways of working that are keeping the shelter's doors open.
"When thinking about one case of COVID coming into the shelter, that could close the shelter,” Dr. Stephani Stancil, an adolescent medicine clinician at the Children's Mercy Synergy Teen Clinic, said.
It's long been a concern for staff at Synergy.
Children’s Mercy and Synergy Services pooled their resources to create the Structured COVID-19 Response Plan.
“This program has allowed Synergy Services to keep their doors open," Stancil said. "Throughout this process, we have been able to keep their COVID-19 testing positivity rates below 1%. That means essentially we've kept COVID out of their shelter."
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