Caring for the caregivers during the COVID-19 crisis
LOS ANGELES - Ian Wilson is on the front lines. He's an ER nurse, a ''visiting nurse'' as they're called from Ohio, on the job here in Southern California. He's working 12 to 13 hour days, as is his ER nurse girlfriend Michelle.
Get breaking news alerts in the FOX 11 News app. Download for iOS or Android.
They were going home after their shifts to her family's house, where of course there is the risk of bringing home the disease unknowingly. Imagine that stress combined with the day to day stress of being a front line health care worker during this pandemic.
''We deal with so much in the hospital, worrying about our safety, about our patient's safety. the last thing you want to do is go home and worry about how you might transmit disease.''
A lunchtime break watching Fox News Channel has changed his life, literally, as well as Michelle's.
RELATED: Stay up to date on all coronavirus-related information
Fox was airing a segment on an Ohio based short term property management company called Arriva, who's execs, faced with zero bookings when the shutdown went into effect, wanted to find a way to give back while keeping their people employed.
So they kicked in some money, launched caregivershelterfund.org asking for donations, partnered with a couple of hotel chains, and were able to provide rooms at no cost to frontline medical workers like Ian and Michelle.
It started small in three Ohio communities, then the local news picked it up, then Fox News and Wilson saw it on TV in the break room, contacted the fund, asked about Southern California, and with the help of a locally operated hotel and property management company, Kamla, he quickly had a one-bedroom furnished apartment for himself and Michelle, at no cost, for at least a month.
This unit probably would rent for $1200 to $1400 a month he said, and that's probably on the low side.
Airriva spokesman Sean Whittaker, who originally contacted me about this story via a big email blast, and said: "We've housed a couple of caregivers and days later their parent's aunts uncles reached out to thank us personally because they know how vicious this virus is if their (loved ones) were to bring it home to them."
Wilson, with a big smile, says they are ''blessed."
The company tells me they've housed about 100 people already, and have about 200 on the waiting list.
Good news travels fast at a time when we desperately need it.