City Supports Emergency Shelters During COVID-19
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City Supports Emergency Shelters During COVID-19

 

The City of Windsor with its partners - Windsor Essex County Health Unit, The Downtown Mission, The Welcome Centre and the Salvation Army Centre of Hope – is collaborating and supporting efforts to serve people experiencing homelessness in our community while everyone deals with the arrival of COVID-19.

We are working closely with our local Health Unit, the healthcare sector, and leading homelessness experts such as the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and the Canadian Network for the Health and Housing of People Experiencing Homeless (cnh3). “Operational needs fundamentally exceed the capacity of the vast majority of shelters in Canada” says cnh3, “Alternate approaches are required that will necessitate intersectoral collaboration to implement these solutions.”

Our emergency shelter providers are implementing increased health protocols as recommended by public health officials.  Increased screening measures and enhanced cleaning protocols are in place.  Social distancing measures such as smaller, staggered eating times and increased distance between beds have been adopted.  These actions are supplemental to their existing plans, which were previously created to address illnesses and outbreaks that occur outside of this pandemic.

Currently the most pressing issue in the shelter system is reduced staffing and volunteer levels, as people are self-isolating.  The City of Windsor, with support from upper levels of government, is providing new and additional financial supports to the emergency shelters to address this issue.  Additionally, the City’s Employment and Training Services (ETS) department, funded by Employment Ontario, is ready and available to assist employers with their hiring needs.  We have dedicated job developers and employment support caseworkers available to help.

“While our emergency shelter providers have existing plans and protocols to address illness and other situations, we recognize that COVID-19 is an extraordinary circumstance that requires creative solutions,” says Jennifer Tanner, Manager of Homelessness and Housing Supports.  “We are assisting our partners to continue to deliver services to their clients with funding, and information from experts in the homelessness sector and healthcare field.”

“Communities must consider the needs of people who are experiencing homelessness and how the COVID-19 virus will impact them.  Without a home, it is much more difficult to adhere to public health guidelines around social distancing and isolation.  The City of Windsor recognizes the unique needs of people experiencing homelessness and has been working closely across sectors to develop a collaborative response plan.” says Commissioner, Jelena Payne.

A phased plan has been developed to triage residents experiencing homelessness when a suspected case does present itself, and we are actively working with the health care sector on the particulars of the plan.

We continue to adapt the plan based on the hour by hour updates being provided through the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit and other healthcare professionals.​

This remains an evolving situation and we will continue to update residents as new information becomes available. Visit www.citywindsor.ca/covid-19​ for the latest information.  We have a growing list of Frequently Asked Questions that can help answer questions you might have or might not have thought of.

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