Building better communities during physical distancing
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way Ottawa Community Housing does business. What has not changed is the dedicated staff that work to build stronger and better communities.
Community Safety Services (CSS) is continuing to deliver 24/7 service to our communities with a focus on higher priority calls for service and proactive community patrols. More than ever, CSS is collaborating with Ottawa Police Services and Ottawa Bylaw Services to ensure resident safety.
Ottawa Community Housing’s Community Developers started connecting with approximately 3,500 tenant leaders and engaged tenants in mid-March. Brian Gilligan, Vice-President of Community and Tenant Supports, said Community Developers try to call up to have been calling 10 or more tenant leaders per day to touch base, gather information on how communities are doing and offer what supports they can. They are also reaching out to OCH’s many community partners.
The Community and Tenant Support team is also working with partner agencies that operate in OCHC communities to ensure that tenants are still receiving as many of the supports as they can remotely.
OCH tenant leaders are a critical component to the development of healthy, safe and inclusive communities. During this difficult time, they are checking in on their neighbours, purchasing groceries for those who cannot leave their homes, let OCH know if neighbours are in need of supports, and making sure that programs like the Food Bank continue to run in OCH communities.
Tenancy Support Workers, in addition to connecting to those tenants who have been experiencing difficulties in the previous 24–hour period, are proactively reaching out to some of our most vulnerable tenants, and where applicable to these tenants’ support agencies. This is being done to ensure that our most vulnerable tenants feel supported during this time. Staff and partner agencies made approximately 15,300 contacts with tenants from all groups from mid-March to July 17.
OCH has been working with Red Cross to do wellness checks. Those volunteers have knocked on more than 7,300 doors.
Brian said staff will continue to connect with tenant leaders and those that have greater needs, including seniors and people living with disabilities and mental health and addiction challenges, as well as families.