Dear Supporters of the Poverello,
It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that one of our guests died this weekend as a result of an assault at the Poverello Center. You may have already heard about the incident in the media. Because of our policies to protect the confidentiality of guests staying with us, and because there is an active investigation by the police, we cannot say much about the details of what happened. That said, I want to make it clear that it is my top priority to make sure the Poverello Center is as safe as possible for our guests, volunteers, neighbors, and staff.
First and foremost, we at the Poverello Center feel deep sorrow over what happened this past weekend as we mourn the loss of a member of our Pov family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family, and our staff is dedicated to supporting guests who, in addition to their existing crisis, are also grieving. We work hard to ensure our shelter is as safe as possible for everyone we serve and strive to professionally serve individuals who are in crisis every single day. As a community, we will come together to evaluate what happened, continue to learn, and strive to improve our services so that everyone who walks through our doors finds a safe and welcoming space.
The Poverello Center, along with the help of hundreds of community volunteers, is committed to delivering our mission and create a safe and welcoming environment for all who spend time under our roof as we work with them to find a permanent home. The work of the Poverello Center is challenging, and in the face of adversity, we must never lose sight of the good we do within our community–providing food, shelter, help, and hope to all who ask, 365 days a year. Through the cold winter months, we serve an average of 200 people per night and operate an overflow shelter at the Salvation Army so that we may shelter beyond our facility’s capacity. Annually, 1,600 individuals stay at the Poverello, and we serve an average of 13,000 meals per month – a necessity for both individuals experiencing homelessness and housed individuals and families struggling to make ends meet.
The Poverello Center has strong policies and procedures in place and the staff receives regular training so that we can respond quickly with compassion and care when a crisis impacts our guests. In addition, our entire staff met as a team to debrief the incident and discuss any possible measures that could be taken to mitigate risks in the future. This tragic incident has shaken our team, but we are resilient and deeply devoted to our mission.
It is at times like this that I am so appreciative of the support of people like you. Without that support, we would not be able to continue our important work.
Amy Allison Thompson, LCSW
The Poverello Center