Contributed by: Erin Banaszak
My mother Lynn and I jumped on the mask-making bandwagon as soon as it started rolling! Once word got out that we were making them, the requests started coming in.
Between my mother and I, we donated 25 masks to the Milwaukee County Homeless Outreach Team. This team provides person-centered, housing-focused, street outreach services to individuals experiencing homelessness throughout the community. The primary focus of their services is to move individuals quickly off of the street into permanent housing. The team operates within the Housing First philosophy, which puts accessing housing as the first step to ending someone’s cycle of homelessness. Once housing is secured, wraparound services are put in place to address the layers of needs for each individual. The team holds firm to the belief that housing is a human right, and every individual in our community deserves a place to call home.
Recently, COVID-19 has forced the team to pivot to an emergency response, and ramp up their efforts to get individuals indoors immediately. Being able to access and use PPE, including masks, allows the clients and the team to stay as safe as possible during this crisis. It is a critical, necessary component, to continuing the mission.
My mom and I continue to make masks and provide them to whoever asks; friends, family, organizations like the one mentioned in this story, and healthcare organizations. The task keeps our minds and hands busy!
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