LMM COVID-19 Response – Transition Plan

March 2022

Dear Community Members,

We are pleased to share an update on Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry’s services to the community and the next phase of response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As we have come to recognize that COVID-19 in its various forms is with us for the long term, we continue to forge ahead as an organization to achieve our mission of serving those in our city and region who are oppressed, forgotten and hurting. In reflecting on the last two years, what has come to the forefront is the exacerbation of health disparities, persistent economic challenges, and racial inequities impacting those we serve and our community at large. Transitioning from responding to the pandemic, to managing an endemic state, LMM is mindful of these factors and the challenges that lie ahead.

A silver lining of the pandemic is that while we have to be agile in order to sustain essential services, we also had the opportunity through local and federal relief and private sector funding to explore new approaches. LMM is positioned to continue to respond to what is expected to be an increased demand for basic needs services (food, housing, employment) while furthering innovative and long-term solutions to the most challenging issues faced by members of our community. Our basic needs services are on solid footing as we seek to build out many of the responses that were successfully initiated in the last year, including LMM’s expanded roles along the continuum of shelter and housing options for youth, single adults and families; new food distribution mechanisms and social enterprises; and full integration of behavioral health within each program area to support holistic, trauma-informed and culturally competent services. 

LMM is also ready to turn the page on COVID-19 and move toward our “new normal”.  With the broader community opening up due to improving vaccination rates and low incidences of COVID-19 infections, we feel it is the appropriate time to adapt and transition to a new phase of response. With recommendations from our staff partners who serve on the Health & Safety Committee, and with input from the COVID-19 Task Force and Senior Leadership Team, we have developed and are implementing a Transition Plan. As we look to move into this next phase of our response, we are loosening up some of the restrictions that have been in place, along with providing opportunities for community members to engage with us again, in-person.

Important aspects of the Transition Plan include:

  • Site-Specific Masking Requirements – the masking requirement remains in effect for the Men’s Shelter at 2100 Lakeside at this time, given it is a large congregate setting. The shelter team is monitoring for future guidance from local, state and federal health leaders. Other LMM sites (4515 Superior Ave. , 4100 Franklin Blvd.) have moved to a policy of “masking optional”.
  • Isolation Policy for Staff Partners & Volunteers – we have adopted our policy to align with the latest guidance of the CDC, which indicates those who are COVID-19 positive should isolate 5 days, then wear a mask when around others or in public for an additional 5 days. (See CDC policy for details.)
  • In-Person Meetings and Volunteer Groups – through a phased-in approach, LMM staff and service partners will be invited to meet in person at LMM sites, with limits to group size and with social distancing implemented. Some meetings/activities will be held as hybrid (in-person and remote), which will not only provide greater accessibility, but also support those who may feel more comfortable participating remotely. Technology also will be used when more practical or efficient to connect with other staff and service partners. Small volunteer groups will be invited back to the Men’s Shelter at 2100 Lakeside. We are currently holding off on large group volunteer activities unless they can be held outdoors or in well-spaced indoor venues.
  • Hybrid Work – LMM is now a hybrid workplace, with some staff positions able to work a combination of days at home and at the work site, based on the job role. The hybrid approach has helped reduce spread of infection, and has been effective related to productivity and retention. LMM sees this as an important step to embrace the new work environment, aligned with business and nonprofit partners.

Change can be difficult and we recognize that this new plan may be welcome by some and challenging for others. As an organization that seeks to help individuals be empowered, valued and healed, we will continue to foster an environment of respect, understanding, and support for all who interact with our services and sites, as we work through this next phase.

While we remain cautiously optimistic, we understand that we may need to revert to some more restrictive policies in the future if cases increase given the likelihood of variants and sub-variants. LMM’s Health & Safety Committee and Senior Leadership Team will continue to monitor the trajectory of COVID-19, continuing to rely on the guidance of trusted sources, including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Institute of Health (NIH), state and local public health authorities. 

As we continue to adapt to our ever-changing environment to rise to the challenge ahead, we invite your continued support and involvement. Here are a few ways you can do so:

  • Financial contributions enable LMM to continue to serve. Please consider making a generous contribution to our organization to be used for an area of greatest need.
  • In-kind contributions can safely be made through our Amazon Wish List. To learn more about our supply needs and make a contribution, click here.
  • Participating in our Advocacy Actions ensures that our elected officials know how our community’s most vulnerable members continue to be affected by the pandemic, and about the push for racial justice. To join our email list, click here.

Thank you for your continued support through offering your thoughts and prayers, and gifts of time, talent and resources.  

Sue Cyncynatus                                                              Maria A. Foschia

CFO and Interim President & CEO                            Chief Operating Officer

For regular updates regarding LMM, stay in touch via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and our website, www.lutheranmetro.org.