Durham Region: Supporting vulnerable populations in Durham Region during COVID-19

Whitby, Ontario – Amid the COVID19 situation, the Durham Region Social Services Department is working with community partners to ensure support continues for those who need it most.

Community resources

A new web page, durham.ca/CommunityResources, compiles a list of local resources available for vulnerable and marginalized individuals in the community. If you are worried about your income, shelter, food security, mental health, or transportation, please visit this website. This resource will be updated regularly.

Local community agencies are actively seeking volunteers to provide help to vulnerable members in our communities in a safe way. If you can help, please visit durham.ca/CommunityResources to find out ways that you can volunteer or donate to help support fellow Durham Region residents during this challenging time.

Food security

As COVID-19 puts a strain on community resources—including food banks—the Region of Durham is encouraging the community to donate to existing organizations, such as Feed The Need Durham, to provide safe and responsive service to people who need access to food. Please visit the Feed The Need Durham website for information about local food drives, including options for drive-through donations. Monetary donations toward Feed the Need in Durham may also be made online, which will be dedicated to bulk purchases of non-perishable food items.

Community Care Durham is expanding their Meals on Wheels, telephone assurance and delivery services. Visit durham.ca/CommunityResources for more information about how to get access to, or volunteer for, this program.

Emergency shelter programs

Local outreach support agencies, shelters and overnight warming centres remain open throughout Durham Region. Please visit durham.ca/EmergencyShelters to learn more about the options available for those who require assistance. Information about emergency supports for unsheltered residents is updated daily online through The Gap Committee.

Individuals who wish to access these services are also advised that these support agencies are following the advice of the Region’s Health Department, to help prevent the spread of illness. This includes practising proper hand hygiene and social distancing; coughing or sneezing into one’s sleeve or a tissue; active screening by staff at entrances; and increasing cleaning and disinfecting measures.

Emergency shelters are working with community hotel/motel owners to ensure that isolation spaces are available for clients who need it.

Durham Region CAREmongers

A new grassroots volunteer organization, Durham Region CAREmongers, provides support to get supplies to those who are quarantined or otherwise vulnerable, over 65 or immune-compromised, in a safe and responsible way. Training and support will be provided. Call 1-888-573-0982 if you can help or need help.

The Social Services Department will continue working with the community to ensure the health and safety of Durham Region’s most vulnerable populations.

Durham Region residents should follow trusted sources of information to stay informed. For a full list of impacts to Regional programs and services, visit durham.ca/ServiceChanges. Get the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 in Durham Region at durham.ca/NovelCoronavirus.

Quotes

“We are a community that supports one another. I am so inspired by the local organizations and volunteers who are stepping up for fellow residents. To Durham Region residents who have the means to do so, I encourage you to support your local food bank during this challenging and unpredictable time. Thank you to everyone who is stepping up to support one another—it is the strength of our human spirit that will carry us through.”

John Henry, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer

“To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we are asking residents to practise social distancing by staying home as much as possible—but what about our residents who don’t have a place to call home? We know the risk is high for these vulnerable residents, and our top priority is keeping everyone safe. The Region of Durham is ensuring that those living unsheltered have access to support services and a warm, safe place to stay. Thank you to our community partners for working collaboratively with us to provide continued support for everyone.”

– Stella Danos-Papaconstantinou, Commissioner of Social Services