Citizens Against Physical and Sexual Abuse in Logan just experienced its highest capacity week in 40 years.
In a typical week, the nonprofit shelters 20 individuals. Last week, it housed 47.
“The number of people we’re sheltering is up over 50%,” said Jill Anderson, CAPSA’s executive director. “And you couple that with the fact that we are having to use limiting capacity of our on-site shelter and reducing those numbers down by half, and then spreading them out over off-site spaces that we’re paying for nightly, the cost is just extraordinary.”
Last year, CAPSA received more than 1,200 calls for help on the 24-hour crisis line in March, April and May. And while Logan City Police Department reported a 20% reduction in domestic violence calls in May 2020 compared to 2019, CAPSA’s number of calls is up 104% — 2,470 calls in March, April and May.
In order to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines in regards to COVID-19, many of CAPSA’s services had to be adapted, such as teleconference meetings for therapy rather than in-person, and providing everyone with masks, and giving residents hand sanitizer and thermometers.
“Implementing all of those things — technology wise — and ensuring that our staff, who provide services 24 hours a day are well trained and know how to use the PPE we provide and use the technology that we’ve implemented, it’s a huge endeavor,” Anderson said. “Because we operate a communal living setting, we don’t see adjusting how we’re operating from the way we are right now to change anytime soon.”
Anderson said CAPSA has been able to help everyone who has called or needed a place to stay, but “just looking at how we’re going to continue to provide these services in a safe way over the next at least a year is concerning to us.”
Anderson said the safety mechanisms and changes have been worth the extra cost. CAPSA had a resident test positive for COVID-19 last week, but with quarantining the individual, heightened cleaning and PPE requirements, there hasn’t been a spread of positive cases.
CAPSA caught a lucky break with students leaving the area when Utah State University moved to online classes.
“Prior to students leaving, we were struggling to find enough places for people,” Anderson said. “Now, we are worried about that happening again when they start to come back.”
CAPSA caught another break when it received CARES Act funding, but Anderson said community support, such as volunteers and donation of masks and cleaning supplies, will be crucial to continue providing services.