Good evening Unity community,
It has been a challenging few days here in Philadelphia, especially as many of you have traversed challenges facing work, childcare, school, and your personal recovery. We have witnessed amazing things through our online all recovery meetings, which have welcomed people from all 50 states across the US over the last two days. In times of great turmoil, the recovery community never fails to rise to the occasion and be there for each other as our community has this time.
We have been discussing the current state of public health at a staff and stakeholder level over the last several days, and have tried our best to keep all of you in the loop as we make decisions and changes to our schedule and in-person hours. Moving to a digital-first strategy, while still keeping the recovery center open, has worked well for the last week and we are eager to continue serving you in the days to come.
At this time, however, we have made a decision to close the center for the next two weeks out of more than just an abundance of caution, but what we feel is the right level of concern for the public health, the health of our staff, and most important, the health and wellbeing of the community. All of the community too, not just those who use our services, but those who are immunocompromised, the elderly, those who have never even heard of us, and those who are still perhaps thinking COVID-19 isn’t a big deal. We will close effective immediately (March 15th) and re-open on Monday, March 30th.
We will continue to provide our digital recovery support service delivery throughout this period. The recovery center on Main Street will not be available for drop-in services or recovery support meetings, however. We will continue to offer 4x daily all recovery meetings on Zoom in partnership with WEconnect and Alano Club, and our certified peer recovery support specialists and family recovery support specialists are working and ready to engage with you via video, the peer text line, telephone, or messenger.
In addition, we are putting all employee sick and paid time off policies on hold. Peer staff will be fully paid and provided benefits, no matter if they are healthy or sick, can find a babysitter or cannot, during this time. We would not be who we are as an organization or community without our peer staff, and we hope this commitment to will be emulated across the recovery support services field as these decisions to close temporarily are made.
We hope that our colleagues, our families, and our comrades will heed this message and continue to provide services where they can, without increasing the risk to all of those that live in our communities. We will be here, now and in the future, to serve however we best can, and always with a community first mindset.
Robert D. Ashford
Executive Director – Unity Recovery