As we enter the second week of social distancing measures in the United States, we’d like to share an update of how we’re adapting to the situation. We would also like to share some reflections on what’s emerging in this unprecedented moment.
- We are still accepting new residents, but doing so carefully and responsibly
- All of our homes have careful practices in place for social distancing and clean hygiene
- Residents are benefitting from more social connection at a time when many are suffering from isolation
At this point, each of our homes is essentially “group-isolated” meaning that most residents are staying home and avoiding unnecessary trips in public. All of our homes already have a shared food program for collective grocery and supply purchasing. Through this system, shopping errands are being done by only a few individuals or through delivery services, further reducing contact in public. Clear cleaning and hygiene practices are in place, and individual quarantine plans are ready for residents who begin to show any symptoms.
Clear Quarantine Plans + Recommendations
We have sent out recommendations on how our communities can adapt to hygiene and social distancing best practices. We are working directly with each of our homes to understand what their practices and protocols are and make sure they have enough supplies. We are also checking in on the social and emotional wellbeing of the homes as folks are spending more time at home together. We have worked with each of our homes to ensure they are well prepared for these fast-changing times:
- Residents are aware of the pandemic and are taking action to adapt
- Good information and best practices are available around handwashing, social distancing, regular sanitization of surfaces, etc.
- Homes have sufficient stocks of cleaning, medical and food supplies
- Structured conversations have happened among residents to create explicit shared agreements and norms for cleaning, hygiene and social distancing protocols
- Warm lines of communication are open for folks with health concerns or economic hardship to reach out so we can work to support their situation
- All in-home events and gatherings have been cancelled
- Outside guest visits have been either eliminated or reduced to partners and family
Community Preparedness Calls
We have increased the number and frequency of group calls we’re hosting with resident representatives from each of our communities (we call them “Community Coordinators”). Our first corona-specific call happened before the shelter-in-place ordinance went into effect. Our second call happened last Wednesday and we had 100% participation from all our homes. It’s very encouraging to see folks rallying together, cooperating and collaborating to balance individual needs with the collective good.
Social & Emotional Wellbeing
Both the virus and related economic difficulties can bring anxiety and uncertainty right now. We’re keeping a close pulse on how folks are feeling in our homes, and helping to encourage positive interactions, compassionate communication and mutual support. It’s very heartening to see the way residents are coming together, from recording music videos, starting podcasts on community response, cooking fancy meals for each other and even pooling financial support for those in need. Our team is making ourselves extra available to support mutual wellbeing.
We have suspended in-person open houses and tours to do our part adhering to social distancing. People are still welcome to apply to our houses, and existing residents are actively participating in video interviews and tours with prospective housemates. We are taking move-ins on a case-by-case basis to balance public health concerns with helping people who need housing.
To limit community transmission, we have reduced in-home maintenance visits to emergency-only needs. For non-emergency but important needs (like wifi!) we have gotten creative, working collaboratively over calls and video chat to walk residents through troubleshooting issues themselves.
The OpenDoor Team
We are grateful to be providing an essential service that is, relatively speaking, less affected by the current economic circumstances. We are able to retain 100% of our team at full salary, and support them and their families during these hard times. We have moved to 100% remote interaction internally and with residents. Fortunately, as a digitally native company, this transition has been seamless for both us and our residents.
Five-year OpenDoor resident Ilana Lipsett spearheaded the writing and recording of a music video to spread awareness about COVID best practices.