COVID-19 changed every aspect of our lives from how we live and work to how we buy goods and receive services. People lost jobs, people experiencing homelessness needed additional safe shelter spaces, and virtual schooling combined with working from home have strained family relationships and impacted everyone’s mental health.

While the pandemic presents many challenges, it also offers a unique opportunity to re-envision our services. Drawing on our ongoing efforts to be innovative, resilient and diverse, we have made important service enhancements that will have a profound and lasting effect.

Service Enhancement Highlights

  • Many client registration, intake and administrative processes are accessible online
  • Job seekers can access employment resource centres, workshops, registration, webinars, virtual job fairs and additional supports online whenever and wherever they need them
  • Families and youth in our live-in treatment mental health programs are receiving a combination of face-to-face and virtual services based on individual needs and circumstances
  • Community Mental Health Services shifted to providing ongoing virtual support
  • Safe Haven Youth Services offers youth support for online/virtual schooling as well as more onsite programming and recreation
  • Children’s mental health service access through Front Door has been expanded to include virtual services
  • Front Door is now located in both Kitchener and Cambridge for more convenient access
  • The Kitchener Housing Resource Centre remained open with enhanced precautions to provide drop-in services to those unable to access virtual options
  • Housing Advisors enhanced and diversified service delivery by going into shelters and drop-in spaces to reduce barriers and better meet participant needs
  • Housing Services PATHS2Home staff have extended their presence in emergency shelters to accelerate re-housing efforts for those experiencing homelessness

While we would like to forget many aspects of this pandemic, we will not forget the need for constant innovation to enhance services and for supporting the most vulnerable in our community. As difficult as things have been, they will get better, and we will be stronger for it.