COVID-19 Response October 2020 Update (revised November 9)

Corona Virus Microscope Image

NEW: Due to the public health order issued on Nov 7, 2020, we’ve made temporary changes to the following information, dated Nov 9 to Nov 23 and in bold font.

Hello to everyone! We’ve been keeping our heads down, working hard during the pandemic, and wanted to provide an update on how we’re addressing COVID-19 at RainCity Housing, while at the same time address the ongoing opioid poisoning epidemic, in order to make it as safe as we can for the program participants and our staff every day.

We continue to regularly monitor developments related to COVID-19 and rely on information from the BC Centre for Disease Control and public health to guide our work in this area.

WHAT WE’RE DOING:

  • Each of our sites has an Individual Pandemic Plan to respond to the ongoing situation.
  • All staff are provided with PPE (personal protective equipment) and have access to detailed information about how and when to use various forms of PPE.
  • Signage has been posted widely at all of our sites with recommended hygiene practices for workers, guests and the people we support.
  • Hand sanitizer and soap dispensers are available at all programs.
  • Plexiglass guards have been installed at the front desks in all of our buildings to make it possible to have necessary conversations with the people we are supporting.  
  • Continued enhanced infection control protocols are in place that include:
    • frequent regular surface cleaning at all of our sites, particularly at high contact points;
    • staff wear masks throughout their shifts;
    • Guests and program participants are encouraged to wear masks in all common areas of our buildings and to maintain physical distance;
    • Masks are available at all sites for distribution, upon request, to program participants and guests.
  • Nov 9 to Nov 23 – there will no in-person staff meetings. All will be conducted remotely.
  • Nov 9 to Nov 23 – our Indigenous Services and Peer Services staff will reduce site visits to essential visits only.
  • Nov 9 to Nov 23 – there will be minimum staffing at our 616 Powell Administration offices with as many people as possible working from home.
  • We have protocols and procedures in place for when a program participant or staff member tests positive and follow public health direction.

We continue to react to this situation and how it changes in real time, recognizing the possibility of receiving new information and new approaches to complex issues and ways to solve new problems every day.

Our exceptional and creative team of staff continue in their tireless work during every shift in the midst of not one but two health emergencies – thank you! And who constantly step up for each other and for the people we support.

Ways You Can Help

NOTE: from Nov 9 to Nov 23 we will not be able to accept donations in person.

If you are some of the amazing people who want to donate items to any of our sites, we are accepting donations of clothes and household items such as:

  • New socks
  • Blankets
  • Pillows
  • Towels
  • Shoes
  • Toiletries
  • Books

Please email me (Bill) at bbriscall@raincityhousing.org and provide a list of what you have in mind, and the community where you live. That way, I can make sure the right stuff is getting to the right program that is closest to you. Please note that we ARE NOT accepting food at this time, and we are unable to pick up items from you.  

If you are wanting to support us in other ways, one can always donate safely and securely from their own home by visiting our direct donation page. Huge thanks to all of you who donate to us and make it possible for us to respond even faster to this ongoing crisis.

Again, thank you for your ongoing support during these very interesting and intense times!

Our Overdose Prevention Site is open!

Photo courtesy of CBC News

Earlier in May we opened a new overdose prevention site — the only such site connected to a hospital in the province, and the only spot in Vancouver outside the Downtown Eastside where people can use drugs with clean equipment under the supervision of trained professionals and peers. They can even have their drugs tested for fentanyl at the facility.

Isacc Malmgen is our site Manager and is already getting positive feedback. 

“We’re seeing a lot of people come by who are really excited to be able to walk to something within their neighbourhood, close to their home, where they can feel safe using,” he said.

“You can walk in off the street; you don’t have to check in with any other staff. You just come straight to us and do what you need to do in the tent and feel safe doing it.”

The Site is a partnership with Providence Health, Vancouver Coastal Health, and RainCity. Read the CBC article.