A paper face mask with a drawing on it.

As the world quickly changed for America in March of 2020 with the onset of COVID-19, New Life Center remained optimistic as they could continue to serve the local communities despite the overwhelming challenges they faced. It is up most importance for New Life Center’s doors to remain open as prevalence of domestic violence is so high. Instead of closing their doors and shutting down during the pandemic, New Life Center embraced crucial new changes in order to keep the refuge for domestic violence open and to continue the very incredible and necessary work it takes as the largest domestic violence service provider in Arizona to bring hope and healing.

The shelter adjusted quickly to affects the virus had on the shelter and have been able to offer full services to their residents. To address immediate health concerns on campus, New Life Center applied for emergency funding which allows for a possible in house, part-time, onsite nurse and that provides free COVID testing to residents through October. If residents tested positive for COVID-19, they have the ability to quarantine in their own casita, while receiving support from New Life Center staff including meal delivery, laundry and new toys and games for their children.

New Life Center’s necessary pandemic changes extended to more than just COVID-19 testing and onsite health professionals. The resident cafeteria – which provides three meals to residents each day that are individually packaged or made following CDC health and food guidelines – new social-distancing requirements in adherence to CDC guidelines. New Life Center quickly adjusted their cafeteria operations by implementing stringent safety guidelines including social distancing with the tables separated for each family unit as well as separate cubbies for storage of food.

Due to this season of COVID, spending time outside and having space for relaxation and fresh air has been pivotal. New Life Center not only ensured rooms and meals, but also made it a priority for residents to walk around and enjoy the outdoors. The campus has plenty of outdoor areas for the children to play, such as a playground, benches to read on, and a garden to sit in and enjoy the fresh air. Another great addition to the shelter has been their basketball court and splash pad which allows for excellent social distancing, while letting families enjoy the beautiful sunny Arizona weather.

As the way education has vastly shifted from in person class to online, children and teens of New Life Center have gained access to the necessary technology that is mandatory to excel in academia. To tackle this challenge, New Life Center provided a computer in each casita and laptop rentals for free so children fleeing domestic violence could learn without skipping a beat.

New Life Center has remained one of the largest shelters in Arizona serving the Phoenix community during the global pandemic. COVID-19 has drastically affected domestic violence services and it is vital more than ever to serve survivors. Volunteers are greatly needed along with donations of monetary value or In-Kind donations. To see more updates follow New Life Center on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.