March 16 2020 Update on COVID-19 for the Fountain House Community

Posted on March 16, 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 to protect the health and safety of our members, staff, partners and supporters, as well as the wider NYC community.

Please know we are doing everything we can to enable Fountain House programs to continue, but will be TRANSITIONING TO VIRTUAL PROGRAMS AND SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED CAPACITY while ensuring our members are supported as much as possible during this difficult time. It is equally important that you cooperate and adhere to these changes for your own safety and the safety of our community.

Important Updates on Fountain House Programs and Services:

  • Starting Tuesday, March 17:
    • Fountain House will begin reducing clubhouse hours.  We will only be open 11am-3pm.
    • We will serve lunch in the units from 12:30pm-1:30pm, but no breakfast will be served.
    • All non-essential unit work will be temporarily halted. Some unit staff (social practitioners) will be working in other units or working from home to support the external services we are providing members.
    • All staff and members entering the clubhouse will be asked about possible symptoms and possible exposure related to COVID-19 virus. Members and staff deemed at risk will be asked to go home temporarily, and practice social distancing, as well as join the external services and supports Fountain House is providing.
    • Social practitioners will be available via phone if they are working from home. Get the phone numbers from your unit leader.
  • Starting Wednesday, March 18:
    • The Warm-line will be operating 24 hrs. The new warmline number is 917-795-8309.  Calls made to the old warmline number will be forwarded to the new one.
    • The Community meeting will be live on our Facebook page.  Please join the 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.
  • Starting Friday, March 20:
    • The Clubhouse will close down temporarily and switch to full-time external support.
  • The Sunday Tax Preparation at Fountain House will be postponed. The Community Tax people will extend hours and find more volunteers when they return to complete member taxes.

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

  • We are using the digital platform Slack for all working groups. As we reduce our hours, members are encouraged to join one of the working group communities. Please contact the key point person for each working group using the chart below to receive an invitation. You can also call: 917-727-0762 for more information.
  • If you need help setting up a Facebook page, email, or anything else to connect to Fountain House’s external community support, please call Fountain House Tech Help group at 917-727-0762.
  • 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. 
  • Jack Rabbit meal delivery service is available.  Both Pink and Yellow sheets will also be distributed with the meals when that service begins. If you are interested in delivery, contact your unit worker. 

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

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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