In November and December 2020, QUIS saw a significant increase in clients needing support to address the self-isolation guidelines set out for those who tested positive for COVID19 or had been identified as a close contact of someone who had tested positive. As workplace exposures and outbreaks climbed across our region, clients who lived with multiple roommates or in multi-generational homes were impacted more broadly by shut downs and isolation requirements.
Settlement workers quickly realized that distributing accurate & clear information was the key to ensuring that clients understood the support they were entitled to receive. Finding resources for financial support and basic needs was essential but the lack of local delivery options for needed items along with the lack of a social network akin to Canadian born residents compounded the problem and exposed gaps in accessing local services.
A collaborative effort began among QUIS staff to collect information about various essential services available in the community. We wanted to find a way to make the information accessible to our client base so we created infographics with topics that included food security, federal income support programs, health & telehealth services, as well as mental health services. Regional locations, contact info and dates/times of operating hours with delivery or pick up options were also included. In a largely rural area with multiple towns and small cities, it is a challenge to coordinate services that are going to meet the unique needs of all residents. Community programs also tend to be more separate so that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution or resource to point out.
The infographics were sent out widely via email, newsletters and social media platforms. During this time, QUIS was also building a stronger relationship with our local public health agency to identify those whom were left out of traditional messaging surrounding COVID19 information, travel restrictions and self-isolation measures. Our public health agency started to refer new clients to us so that we could assist with connecting them to the proper resources and also posted our community information on their website.