Link: Housing Volunteers by Region with Contact Information
Should we close the Tri Delta House?
Out of an abundance of caution, Tri Delta strongly recommended on Tuesday, March 17 that collegiate members depart for their permanent homes in the next 24-48 hours. Already we are seeing shelter in place orders affect Tri Delta locations. As they are designed for communal living and require trained staff to clean and operate them, Tri Delta homes are not well equipped to accommodate members sheltering in place for any extended period of time. Should the virus become active inside a property with residents on-site it would be difficult for staff to continue servicing the property. Even if the host institution has kept residence hall facilities open, we now encourage members to return to their homes and ask house corporations to strongly consider closing facilities temporarily.
What reimbursements should we provide to the collegiate chapter?
In the spirit of the Tri Delta lease between a chapter and a house corporation, house corporations should determine a prorated amount of rent to refund to the collegiate chapter during any unforeseen closures. This does not include scheduled closings such as Spring Break. It will be the responsibility of the collegiate chapter to process individual member refunds.
Tri Delta Housing is developing guidance to assist house corporations in determining the appropriate amount to refund. The collegiate chapter finance team is working with and guiding collegiate chapters as they approach refunds and prorations for individual members. More guidance will follow on this topic. Please do not take action on this at this time.
What will happen to facility staff?
During times when the house is unexpectedly closed (outside of regularly scheduled Spring Break time) and there is not regular work to perform, we will follow guidance provided by our legal and human resource team regarding employment and compensation. Communications have been sent to all House Directors to share with their on-site staff members. Tri Delta wants and expects every staff member to return when the houses reopen. Tri Delta Housing has asked all house directors to continue residing in the property even if the house closes. House Directors who stay in the facility will continue receiving their regular wages.
Can we pay staff during the closure time to retain them?
Neither house corporations nor collegiate chapters should pay facility employees for wages that may be lost during any unexpected closures. Employees that may have a reduction in wages due to lack of work are encouraged to file for unemployment. To protect employees' rights to file for unemployment and to follow federal and state tax laws, compensation of any sort must come from Park Street Properties, LLC, Tri Delta’s employment and management company.
What about our vendors?
Will insurance cover anything during our unforeseen closures?
The MJ Insurance property insurance policy includes loss of income coverage, which provides coverage for lost income and extra expenses, but only following a covered property loss. For example, if a property had a pipe burst and the water damage made the property uninhabitable and women had to be released from their contracts, the insurance company would provide payment of the income lost to the house corporation. However, the policies require that a property loss triggers loss of income coverage before they can provide coverage. Unfortunately, pandemic illness and related loss of income are not property insurance issues and will not trigger loss of income coverage for house corporations.
How do we prepare financially for this unexpected burden?
Tri Delta Housing encourages house corporations to review their current financial situation as soon as possible. Having a plan that outlines required payments set against cash on-hand will help the house corporation understand their situation more clearly. Build out multiple financial scenarios to determine what the house corporation will need to remain financially stable. During this time, we cannot predict when operations will return to normal. Many universities have already shared that they will not return to campus this semester. Identifying areas where you can cut costs by reducing non-critical services is advised. Further, for house corporations with debts held by banks, we recommend reaching out to the bank immediately and inquiring about payment relief. We are aware that banks are often able to offer a period of interest-only payments that will preserve available cash and reduce monthly expenses as house corporations face declining revenues.
Should we hold off on capital projects?
Tri Delta Housing recommends evaluating projects scheduled for the upcoming summer. Given the uncertainty of when facilities will return regular operations, we advise you to proceed cautiously in signing contracts especially if they include a costly out clause. The longer a house corporation can put off signing anything until the current situation is more stable, the better. As a team, determine a decision date by which you must commit or postpone the projects. Your vendors/contractor/architect should be able to offer advice on timing.
Should we deep clean the facility?
Tri Delta Housing recommends all facilities are deep cleaned to support the health of our members and facility employees. Deep cleaning a facility looks different than a general house cleaning. Due to reduced work, utilizing existing staff to perform cleaning can be an effective way to offer work and pay during property closures. House Directors that are onsite during closures should assist the house corporation in arranging the cleaning.
How might we understand the status of university operations?
Tri Delta Housing wants to provide clarification on actions being taken by universities. Every campus has reacted differently and their actions and guidelines continue to change daily at a rapid pace. We encourage all stakeholders to continue to monitor updates from their host institution. At this time, we have not seen any university fully close all operations due to coronavirus. Instead what we are seeing is a shift in key operating functions to adapt to this ever-changing climate. Many universities have announced transitions to online education, some for the remainder of this school term. We are seeing many variables related to student housing: full closure of resident/dining hall, reduced services on campus and a handful are staying fully operational.
What should we do if a collegiate member has tested positive for the virus?
If a member has tested positive for coronavirus or has reported feeling ill and is being tested, the collegiate chapter has received instructions about how to submit the incident to Executive Office. Should this situation happen, Executive Office will let all residents of the facility know that a member of the chapter has been tested/confirmed. If the member is still in the facility at the time the Incident Report is filed, they will be asked to leave and observe the CDC recommended self-quarantine guidelines. Tri Delta facilities are not equipped to manage situations of self-quarantine as they are designed for communal living. The house corporation can assist by supporting the member who is ill, assisting the chapter in respecting her medical privacy, and ensuring the House Director is aware and has scheduled disinfection in the member’s private spaces (bedroom, bathroom).
Is there help for members with financial and other hardship situations?
We recognize that for some of our collegiate members, traveling to their permanent homes with little advance planning presents a true hardship. If a sister is facing a financial hardship due to unexpected travel or displacement as a result of the COVID-19 response, she is eligible to apply for a Collegiate Crescent Fund COVID-19 Emergency Travel Grant from Tri Delta’s Foundation. We have developed an expedited process to apply for these grants so we can meet the needs of our members quickly.
How it works:
- The grant is for the cost of travel expenses - up to a total of $400 for domestic and up to $500 for international – as a result of a campus closing.
Travel related receipts (e.g., airlines, train, gasoline, lodging) are required. We have removed the need for a reference typically required for a Collegiate Crescent Fund grant in order to expedite the process. We have also removed the requirement for applicants to be a member for a year so that first-year members may apply.
- Payments will be made via electronic funds transfer on a first-come, first-served basis until the funds are exhausted.
We also understand that the barriers to returning to a permanent home may not be financial. If a member is facing a difficult circumstance in returning to her permanent home, please contact Tri Delta’s Executive Office for assistance: firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, your campus has probably established a protocol to assist students that cannot return home due to the various circumstances.
Can we help to support displace members locally?