March 15 2020 Update on COVID-19 for the Fountain House Community

Posted on March 15, 2020

Fountain House is monitoring the status of the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak so we can share vital information with our community and will continue to do so over the coming weeks and months.  We understand that this epidemic strikes directly at the heart of our model that is built on social connection, but we must make difficult decisions quickly, as the choices we make in the next weeks will have a significant impact on the speed and scale of spread of this virus in our community and beyond.

Please know we are doing everything we can to enable Fountain House programs to continue, but in a virtual and significantly reduced capacity, while ensuring our members are supported during this difficult time.

Important Updates on Fountain House Programs and Services:

  • The Silver Center is closed, until further notice.  Remote support will be available soon.
  • The Fountain House Studio will be closed Tuesday, March 17th, until further notice. Fountain House will continue to support artists in creating work remotely.
  • The Fountain House Gallery will be closed to the public and to Fountain House artists starting Wednesday, March 18th, until further notice.
  • The Fountain House gym will be suspended starting Tuesday, March 17th. Virtually facilitated group exercise programs will be available as soon as possible.
  • Fountain House Farm unit and weekend trips will be suspended, until further notice.
  • Fountain House Evening and Weekend hours will be suspended starting Wednesday, March 18th.
  • The Fountain House College Re-Entry Center is closed and will be supporting all students virtually.
  • Fountain House is waiting to hear back from the Community Tax preparers to find out what if any changes will be made to the schedule.
  • Banking Blue Slips/Mail – Members who bank directly at Fountain House (Blue Slips), but are practicing social distancing or are quarantined, will be able to call their unit worker for cash withdrawals and the money/receipts will be brought to them at their homes. Banking hours at Fountain House will remain the same for now.
  • Members practicing social distancing or quarantine will have government mail, and other requested mail delivered to them. Please reach out to your worker to coordinate this. 

At-Risk Members are asked to refrain from coming to the clubhouse. You are considered at-risk if ANY of the following applies to you:

  • You are over the age of 60
  • You suffer from a chronic illness such as respiratory disease, heart disease, chronic kidney disease, immune deficiency, HIV, and/or diabetes
  • You have a history of cancer and/or stroke
  • You are an active smoker

Individuals wishing to quit smoking can call the New York State Smokers Quitline at 866-NY-QUITS (866-697-8487)

How can I stay connected to Fountain House if I am practicing social distancing or quarantined?

Social Media 

  • Please join the Fountain House Facebook group, “FH Community” to stay in contact with staff and members. This is a private group, so posts within the group can only be seen by members and staff.
    • Search Facebook for the group, FH Community and request to join.
    • You will be asked 2 questions prior to approval: 
      • Are you a Fountain House member or staff?  
      • What unit are you in? 

Virtual Working Groups

  • We are using the digital platform Slack for all working groups. Using the chart attached to this letter, please contact the key point person for each working group to receive an invitation. 

Outreach Calls

  • Your unit will be reaching out to you.  Please inform your worker if you will not be coming to the clubhouse, so they are aware of your absence.  In order to assist you, we will need updated contact information.  

What other external services/communications will be provided by Fountain House?

  • By March 20th, hand sanitizer made by Fountain House + Body will be made available to the Fountain House community.  
  • In addition to these Fountain House Pink Sheets, Fountain House will be producing COVID-19 Yellow Sheets as a source of accurate and up-to-date information about the virus, and precautions for the Fountain House Community. Both sheets will be distributed by print in the clubhouse and residences, as well as mailed to members. They will be available digitally via Slack, the Fountain House website and social media platforms, the FH Community Facebook group, and as we develop other services. Both Pink and Yellow sheets will also be distributed with the meals by the Jack Rabbits when that service begins.
  • The Fountain House Warm Line (212) 956-0700 will soon be accessible 24 hours/day. 
  • We are working towards establishing “Virtual FH” an online, virtual clubhouse to maintain connection and support—details of which will begin rolling out soon. 

If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19 or are asked to self-quarantine, there is a guide attached to this letter.

Please share this message with members, staff and other community participants.

For the most up-to-date resources, information and guidance on the coronavirus epidemic, please consult the following resources:



Ashwin Vasan, M.D., PhD

President and CEO, Fountain House

Assistant Professor, Mailman School of Public Health and Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons at Columbia University


Ralph Aquila, M.D.

Medical Director and Director of the Center for Leadership and Education, Fountain House

Director, HRH/Brightpoint Health Sidney R. Baer Jr. Center


Craig Bayer

Member, Fountain House


Bianca Ortiz

Member, Fountain House

Virtual Working Group List

Working Group

Point Person/s



Raj Basabathini 

Meals & Tech on Wheels

(Jack Rabbit Delivery)

Ian Campbell

Peer Supports

Mike Brown


Yusselffy Denize

Quarantine Database

Megan Kelly


Nancy Young & Lester Vecsey 


Amy Ferrera, Michelle Rodriguez & Susan Lieblich

Workshop Scheduling/Home Team

Samene Reid


Ruvi Perumal, Anna Palazzi  & Jason Bowman

Programming Response Team

Eldad Shepen

Clubhouse Coalition Support/Info

Nicholas Becerra

Sanitizing Protocols & Support

Jessica Sinetar

Coordinating Support

Elliott Madison & Kate O’Grady 

Clinical & Meds Support

Ralph Aquila

COVID Positive support

Jamel Smalls

Artist Support

Amanda Suarez & Karen Gormandy 


Self-Quarantine Member Support

  • Fountain House is committed to providing much-needed support to members who are quarantined during the COVID-19 outbreak. Fountain House knows that quarantines will be especially difficult for our members.
  • Staff/members will engage in assertive reach-out and have up-to-date information on the COVID-19 protocols for at-risk members. Coordinated by the Units & Silver Center.
  • We will have a virtual community using WebEx during normal programming hours for people to communicate and receive supports. Supported and coordinated by the Media & Technology Center.
  • We will support meal delivery services for members from the Culinary Unit to ensure proper nutrition and to support the quarantine. ERC will coordinate with Jack Rabbit and the Culinary Unit.
  • Members without technological access to WebEx will be able to borrow Cricket phones to access the clubhouse during the period of their quarantine. Coordinated by Media & Technology Center.
  • Reach Out notes on Self Quarantined members will be reviewed by the Program Director to determine if they may return or if there is a need for greater medical intervention and support.
  • Self-quarantined members will have access to greater warm-line services even after hours. This will be coordinated by Residential staff.
  • Self-Quarantined members will also receive a cleaning kit with easy to follow instructions. This will be coordinated by Home & Garden (and delivered via Jack Rabbit).
  • Fountain House will create a Clinical Support Team to provide emergency counseling and prescription medication support for those in Quarantine. This will be coordinated by Dr. Ralph Aquila.

Self-Quarantined members will receive a list of supports available for the duration of their quarantine.

Awards + Recognition

BBB Accredited Charity

Our Global Partners

World Health Organization

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