A large number of people call Pandora Avenue home, even during a pandemic as seen on March 23. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

How Greater Victoria’s non-profit sector is handling the pandemic

Organizations shift programs to phone, online

For people who have a steady job, a roof over their head and enough money to buy food for their family, the pandemic has been a scary shift for everyday life. But for those who don’t have a roof, money or a job — the pandemic has been catastrophic, according to local charities.

“COVID-19 hasn’t hit this population yet,” says Grant McKenzie, director of communications for Our Place Society. “But we know that when it does hit, it will hit extremely hard.”

The staff at Our Place Society continue to serve 1,400 meals per day, provide paramedic services, hand out blankets, tents and hygiene supplies, along with providing access to washrooms, running three shelters and conducting constant wellness checks. With The Harbour, a safe-injection site next door, one of McKenzie’s biggest concerns is when it comes to people overdosing.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Messages of support and positivity pop up around Greater Victoria

Those who run Our Place have been told by Island Health, they cannot give mouth to mouth to people who may need it in order to limit the spread, along with not being able to give oxygen to people because that can flood a person’s system with the virus, says McKenzie.

Adding to the list of worries, March 25 is when social assistance cheques are handed out – a day that traditionally sees a significant spike in overdoses.

“We know we can give them Narcan, but every overdose has a big impact on peoples brain cells and without adding oxygen it’s going to lead to further mental health challenges,” he says.

McKenzie says the population Our Place serves is more concerned with day to day life than the virus, but he anticipates that once it hits Pandora Avenue, the results will be “deadly.”

Women In Need

Mabel Marin, WIN’s marketing and communication coordinator, the biggest fear for the women they serve is the added anxiety and fear on top of having to deal with finding a safe place to live or any other resource. Because the WIN thrift store has had to close, the organization — which uses the revenue from the shop to fund their programs — is suffering.

Marin says the organization has had to rethink many aspects of its programs, especially with delivering furniture to women who have just left or are currently living in transition houses.

To help the women and people they serve, WIN is creating a COVID-19 resource guide – a comprehensive list of all the services offered to people in the area who need help due to the impact of the pandemic. WIN is asking any agency or organization to contact them if they want to be included in the guide.

READ ALSO: Beacon Hill, Topaz, Royal Athletic parks to open as temporary sites for the homeless

In addition to the resource guide, WIN has been working “nonstop” to create an online store that will hopefully replace most of the revenue lost from having to close the brick and mortar store.

Any woman who is in need of help is asked to contact WIN’s program coordinator at programs@womeninneed.ca.

Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria

Moving to a new country is isolating enough without having the added worries of a pandemic, which is why Jean McRae, CEO of the ICA, says her biggest concern is the social disconnect for newcomers.

She says the ICA has been collecting resources that help share COVID-19 news in many different languages to help immigrants understand the state of the virus.

“When people first arrive, they haven’t built a social circle and they don’t necessarily know how to reach out and now they’re being advised not to,” says McRae. “When we take away the opportunity for social connection … that’s the kind of thing we’re worried about.”

To combat the social disconnect, the ICA has been conducting an above normal outreach service where they will phone or email people that access their services just to make sure they’re doing alright.

All three of these organizations expressed the need for monetary donations to be able to continue serving the most vulnerable people within Greater Victoria.

To donate to Our Place Society visit ourplacesociety.com.

To donate to WIN — or to view their online store — visit womeninneed.ca.

To donate to the ICA visit icavictoria.org.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Residents welcomed to The Summit in Victoria’s Quadra Village

Modern 320-bed facility designed for people with complex care needs including dementia

Saanich bans municipal rodenticide use after owl deaths

District unanimously approves ban and community education

Victoria Rotarians gift $10,000 for special mattresses at Broadmead Care

Residents will enjoy new pressure release mattresses at Broadmead Veterans Memorial Lodge

Saanich warns of ongoing night work at the Shelbourne, McKenzie intersection

Construction expected to take three weeks to complete

West Shore RCMP responds after reports of man masturbating on bus

52-year-old man charged with committing an indecent act in a public place

Sources say Canada, U.S. likely to extend mutual travel ban into late August

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted at the possibility after a phone call with U.S. President

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Beloved Island woman dies at 106

Dorothy Adair adored by the many people she met in Chemainus in two short years

Man arrested for allegedly pushing unsuspecting seniors, jumping on cars at Parksville mall

Cops arrest man after ‘aggressive incident’ at Wembley Mall in Parksville

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

Port Alberni will have a salmon derby on Labour Day after all

Alberni Valley Tyee Club reveals ‘socially distanced’ derby only for Labour Day 2020

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Most Read