Click here to download a PDF version of the 2020 Annual Report
Letter from our CEO
“Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.”
This quote from writer Arthur Golden captures the impact of 2020 and what has been revealed about all of us, our agency, our dedicated employees, the clients we support, and their families. To try to summarize all that we experienced and withstood in one letter would be impossible. Suffice to say that it was continually challenging and unprecedented, while also empowering and enlightening to see the adversity that we can overcome together.
As we started 2020, we were focused on some recent additions to our agency from the merger of Nellie Goodhue Group Homes into our agency and their two homes and the new contracted program in Spokane, which started in November serving 34 clients. At the beginning of the year, we were gathering contractor quotes to update and renovate the two homes acquired through the merger and making frequent trips to Spokane to ensure everything was running smoothly and assist with the transition of services to our agency practices and systems.
At the beginning of March, the first case of COVID-19 in Washington was recorded and in fact, it was in a skilled nursing facility within a few miles of several of our homes and our main office. We immediately began purchasing necessary supplies, researching CDC guidelines, finetuning our protocols, training our employees, and finalizing our COVID-19 Planning Guide.
About three weeks after the first case in Washington, the Governor released the Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order. Though most people were able to transition to working remotely from home, our services were carved out as “essential” and so we provided all our employees with documentation to always carry so that we could continue our 24-hour support across approximately 90 homes in three counties.
Unfortunately, it was less than two weeks after that order was issued that the first instance of a client testing positive for COVID-19 occurred at our agency. Throughout the month of April, a total of 19 clients tested positive. Navigating the changes in the level of care and PPE when working with a client with COVID-19 and ensuring that staffing is maintained, especially when many of our staff had tested positive, was extremely challenging.
As you will see in the report, two clients and two employees passed away from COVID-19 over the last year. Our hearts continue to go out to their families, as well as all our employees who worked closely with them, some for many years. This was made even more difficult to endure as we were not able to properly mourn or celebrate their lives as the pandemic continued to impact our ability to gather or even stop for more than a few moments.
Numbers continued to increase, but by June we had no clients with active COVID-19. As was true for the rest of our state and the nation, numbers spiked even higher during the last six weeks of the year and during December, 32 clients tested positive, including our first cases in Spokane and Snohomish counties.
Through all of this, we have faced these challenges, grown from what has been learned, and achieved many accomplishments that we never dreamed we would need to experience, or even master, during our careers.
- Purchased and distributed approximately $282,000 in PPE to the homes
- Established screening protocols and systems for the homes and offices
- Reduced office capacity to 25% and provided technology and equipment for those able to work from home
- Installed air purification systems at our offices and our larger group training homes
- Implemented testing protocols for clients and staff, including drive-through testing at our offices
- Provided N95 mask fit testing days for all our employees in partnership with a contracted vendor
- Successfully advocated for Supported Living to be part of Priority Group 1a for the vaccine
- Conducted 9 vaccine clinics across our three offices, getting over 90% of our clients fully vaccinated
Looking back on this last year, it has been one of tragic loss, unprecedented challenges, and continual stressors, but also one of inspirational stories of dedication and commitment to overcoming all obstacles. To all our families, friends, employees, volunteers, community partners, and donors, we sincerely appreciate your continued support and vital role in the services we provide, especially over the last year as we faced and endured extremely challenging and uncertain times with continued dedication and commitment to our core values.
Chief Executive Officer