As you are aware, this is a rapidly evolving situation, and the responses that made sense even three or four days ago are no longer in line with public health recommendations. We will adapt as needed, following recommendations of the Simcoe Muskoka Public Health Unit, the Government of Ontario, and the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Taking care of our friends who live with us
Redwood’s commitment is to provide safe, affordable, hopeful housing in supportive community. Here’s what that looks like in a pandemic:
Most of our tenants live in independent apartments. We are ensuring that everyone has access to disinfecting supplies and that all communal areas are disinfected regularly. If any of our friends need to self-quarantine, we will support them in that as needed.
We recognize that some of our tenants may have fluctuations in their income related to lost shifts at work or additional expenses incurred as some programs they rely on are closed. We will work with any of the friends living in our units who find themselves short on rent, to make sure no one has to choose between paying rent and other basic needs.
Folks are feeling a whole range of feelings right now, and most of us are more anxious than usual. Our Family Support Team will be making extra efforts to ensure the friends who live with us are feeling well-supported in this time of uncertainty.
Our Family Support Team has always been agile and responsive to the specific needs of each friend who lives with us. We’ll be making extra efforts to keep our occupants, volunteers, and staff connected in difficult times, including by text, phone, or video when in-person visits are not possible.
Taking care of our staff
Our greatest resource at Redwood is the dedicated people who work here. Many on our team have school-aged children who will suddenly be home for an extended time and will need flexibility in their schedules. Supporting people who are extra anxious can be extra tiring, too, and so we will be doing our best to balance supporting our friends while providing the needed flexibility and support to our frontline staff.
We are putting increased touchpoints in place for our frontline staff to make sure they have the supports they need, and commit to paying our staff regardless of closures or needs to self-isolate or quarantine.
Helping our people be their best selves
“Social Distancing” requires us to avoid gathering physically – but it is still a great opportunity for building community in other ways. At the same time that we are supporting our friends who live with us, we will be helping connect them to opportunities to support others as they are able.
A note about the Furniture Bank
We have decided that Furniture Bank operations (both in and out) are paused for at least two weeks. The goal of the Furniture Bank is to connect people and lessen the distance between community members, but this is not really the time for that. Pressing pause at the Furniture Bank will also allow us to focus our available efforts and energy on supporting those living in our supportive transitional housing.
We won’t be doing this perfectly – no one is, because this is an unprecedented situation. Our plan is to err on the side of caution while continuing to centre our decisions around providing safe, affordable, hopeful housing in supportive community.
And we hope that we can all offer each other buckets of grace as we go.
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