By Mike Kinney
The Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP) has expanded its homeless services amid the COVID-19 pandemic to managing a hotel that’s serving as a protective shelter for the homeless.
The Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Hilltop is among the properties the County has set up to serve the community’s most vulnerable populations. The facility serves roughly 150 families, seniors and the disabled.
GRIP is partnering with the Counta Costa County Housing and Homeless Services on a detailed protocol to provide hotel occupants with temporary shelter, meals and healthcare resources, including mental health services, said GRIP Director Kathleen Sullivan. The hotel is staffed around the clock, she said.
“The people housed at the hotel were relocated from local shelters that did not have the kind of social distancing that was needed for their safety,” Sullivan said. Others come to the hotel from calls vetted by 211, CORE teams and County Health.
Meanwhile, GRIP continues to operate its family shelter at its headquarters on 22nd Street, where hundreds of meals are produced daily to serve people in need there and also at the hotel.
That’s why, according to Sullivan, GRIP has been out in the community calling for volunteers to assist in their expanded efforts.
“We need all hands are on deck,” Sullivan said. “We have lost many of our senior volunteers because they are the most at risk in our community, so we need our young and strong to step up and volunteer to support our homeless.”
Sullivan said GRIP will be also resume providing services directly to encampments next week.
The hope is not just to protect this population from COVID-19, but to provide them with the supportive services they need to transition to stable housing.
“This is where we need our entire community to kick in,” Sullivan said. “If you have a room, an apartment or if we have one of your family members at the hotel and we can help with reunification support, we will. It’s part of our ‘By Any Means Necessary Housing Placement Program.'”
GRIP launched BAMN in 2019. The organization is celebrating 55 years of service.
Want to volunteer? All volunteers have to do is call (510) 233-2141 and speak with the Kitchen Manager to make arrangements.