Operation Stand Down Tennessee COVID-19 Statement
We are almost a month into these strange times and the latest news is that our community’s efforts are working. The curve in Tennessee is flattening, the outlook is brighter, and it feels like an end will soon be in sight. We have been very lucky in that none of our staff members or transitional housing clients have tested positive for COVID-19. We continue to be vigilant in our protocols so that we can keep it that way.
Operation Stand Down Tennessee continues to keep the doors open to Veterans however our virtual service numbers are almost equivalent to our in-person numbers. This is gratifying as it means our Veterans are protecting themselves and their families in quarantine while still receiving services. Even as we have reduced our hours for onsite service, we still see a fair number of Veterans at our service centers. From March 16 thru April 8, we have had 426 onsite service interactions and 303 virtual interactions for a total of 729. Our Veteran Service Officer partners have had 653 virtual service interactions during this same time period. That is 1,382 service interactions with our Veterans in need – we are indeed an essential service for those who have served and sacrificed for our Nation!
People are beginning to feel the significant financial burden of the pandemic. It is critical that we get the word out to the Veteran community that there is help and they are not alone. In addition to our federal VA grants, we have two new funds available to help Veterans, spouses, and families impacted by the 3 March tornado or by COVID-19. These were made possible by the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund, the Clarksville Montgomery County Community Health Foundation, and Nashville’s COVID-19 Response Fund. I encourage every Veteran with a qualifying need to contact us for an appointment at (615) 248-1981 or (931) 896-2184 or by emailing Nashville@osdtn.org or Clarksville@osdtn.org.
We have limited food in our food bank but it is open if needed. Our essential services also include career support, should anyone need helping securing employment in this trying time. We still monitor our Facebook group and have opened our campus to CreatiVets who are streaming art and music classes. Visit www.creativets.org/live for more information. We have also been recognized by our community both for the funding we are receiving for Veterans as well as for the ways we are partnering with other non-profits – especially to serve Veterans that are especially vulnerable to social distancing and isolation and for those who lack access to basic services. Check out these links to see what we are doing in the community:
Stay safe and well. Call on us when you need us. Remember, mission first, people always.
John Krenson, CEO
We still lean forward. Our operations continue to adapt to limit the spread of this deadly virus and to cooperate with local, state, and federal directives. Operation Stand Down Tennessee remains open for essential services only. These services include: transitional housing for Veterans experiencing homelessness, emergency financial assistance, VA benefit claims, career services, and basic needs such as food and hygiene supplies. We have implemented the following changes, effective immediately:
* Staff will work primarily from home with less than five employees in the Welcome Centers each day. No more than 10 individuals will be allowed in the buildings at any point.
* All services will be by appointment only, either in-person and virtually. Walk-in traffic can be accommodated by phone to coordinate their appointments same day.
* Computer labs will be open for essential services like telehealth, banking, resume, or benefit applications and will be limited to 30 minutes per person.
To make appointments, contact:
Nashville@osdtn.org or (615) 248-1981
Clarksville@osdtn.org or (931) 896-2184
One of our largest revenue sources has been affected by these changes as we can only be reimbursed for in-person services, not for services conducted by phone or online. We made the decision to serve Veterans as virtually as possible because the health of our clients, staff, and community is our highest priority. This was the right decision but it will have financial implications as the pandemic continues. We have been honored by the support of our donors and invite all our supporters to make gifts as they are able. Please visit www.osdtn.org/donate. The Heroes Breakfast scheduled for August 28, 2020 remains unchanged at this time. A decision will be made at the end of May as to whether to move ahead, reschedule, or convert to a virtual event. We can accomplish so much together and from 6 feet apart.
If you or a Veteran in your life needs help, please count on Operation Stand Down Tennessee. Every day we choose to keep our doors open so that no Veteran faces this battle alone. Mission first, people always.
Be safe and well,
We care deeply for the health and safety of our community – Veterans and their families, our partners, donors, volunteers, and staff. At the directive of local, state, and federal officials, the leadership of Operation Stand Down Tennessee assessed our services and deemed the core mission as essential. The Nashville and Clarksville Welcome Centers will stay open during regular hours to meet essential needs only: financial assistance, temporary housing for homeless veterans, financial support for permanent housing, essential employment services, limited food programs, and referrals to partners. The 12th Avenue Thrift Store will be closed effective immediately. We have reduced daily staffing, reconfigured our meeting spaces to accommodate social distancing, and limited the number of clients allowed in our space at a time to 10 people. Davidson county Veteran Services Officers are working by phone, by appointment only.
All visitors are strongly encouraged to make an appointment in advance by calling Nashville at 615-248-1981, Clarksville at 931-896-2184 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are acutely aware of the harm isolation can cause to Veterans. We have launched a new group on our OSDTN Facebook page for people to reach out and connect. Other opportunities will be posted on our website www.osdtn.org and our Facebook pages www.facebook.com/osdtn and www.osdtn.org/osdtnclarksville. If anyone is in crisis, please reach out. You are not alone.
Operation Stand Down Tennessee is a good steward of its resources and is committed to supporting the team which makes our mission possible. We anticipate an increase in the demand for our services once the quarantine order is lifted and it is essential we keep our efficient, effective, and highly trained team in place. Anyone interested in supporting the brave men and women who put themselves in harm’s way for our nation are encouraged to make a donation at osdtn.org/donate or mailing a check to 1125 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203.
The health and safety of our Veterans, volunteers, and staff is our number one priority. Our Welcome Centers will remain open so long as we can operate them safely, with healthy staff and in sanitized condition. We have been closely monitoring the rapidly changing climate surrounding COVID19, public health, and the recommendations from local, state, and federal agencies. We remain committed to serving Veterans in every way we can during this difficult time.