On March 22, 2020, Ohio declared “shelter in place” because of COVID-19. All non-essential organizations and businesses closed. As a family shelter we are considered to be essential, but our way of being together demanded reflection and change as a result of the mandate for social distancing.

On the day of the governor’s order we had all four rooms filled with 4 adult guests, 4 children and 2 live in volunteers, all sharing meals and bathrooms and common space. We put all of our practices and norms under scrutiny. After many sleepless nights and a lot of behind the scenes work, housing was found for our current residents and a plan created for what Lydia’s House would look like in the next season. At the same time our live in maternal care advocate Helen decided to end her time early with us for health reasons. In one giant celebration we saw Helen and the guests off. It was tearful and crazy and a mix of so many emotions, all scented with hand sanitizer and bleach and topped off with Anne’s famous cheesecake.

We then needed to re-set the house. On Wednesday and Thursday of last week we all rolled up our sleeves and began the turnover in order create the best possible living spaces for our new families.

What had been four rooms on the second floor became two suites, with a living room, bedroom, bathroom and kitchenette for each family. We also realized the attic would make a great little suite for a family so we were able to move our live- in associate down to the first floor. We closed off the living room dining room and kitchen and turning it into a bedroom (pictured above, Ben cutting down a door for this new arrangement). Although none of this is ideal we changed our life and work abruptly to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Thank you to those who provided the microwaves and the refrigerators for the new suites.

We trying to adjust to this new normal and like everyone, we wonder how long this will last. We continue prayer as a core community and are also working hard to support our former guest families with emergency assistance.