There’s no doubt that the pandemic has changed the world in which we live. Rules, restrictions and regulations have become the new normal and although they may be encouraging a physical distance between us, they have also brought us together.
But while our shared lack of COVID immunity creates a commonality it doesn’t mean we share the same risk in contracting it – some experience barriers to the resources and equipment needed to protect themselves.
With this in mind, the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society has launched Meet The Need, a new campaign to help bridge this gap.
Revealed during this year’s Homelessness Action Week, an annual event bringing public awareness and understanding to the issue of homelessness, Meet The Need aims to meet both emerging needs and those COVID has heightened for vulnerable people and the organizations serving them.
Without a home or safe space to self-isolate or practice social distancing, for example, those who are unhoused face barriers to avoiding contact with others explains Letizia Romei, team manager of the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society.
Meet The Need highlights priority issues including the need for housing, food programs and personal protective equipment, as well as measures that contribute to the safe delivery of services to those that need support. With more than 600 unhoused individuals living in Surrey, the need is significant.
Meeting the Need with Tangible Supports
This past spring, the SHHS granted $250,000 to 19 organizations for urgent response initiatives pertaining to COVID. With support from the society, projects have provided basic needs, enabled food programs, purchased necessary supplies and equipment, and increased staff capacity.
“Today, the continued need for support has prompted a second round of grants,” Romei says. Launched in September, the autumn grants will help organizations continue to address issues emerging and exacerbated by the pandemic.
Key priorities include programs targeting housing loss prevention, capital projects and service adaptations. Relevant projects include providing emergency essentials to maintain housing, acquiring spaces or units, and safely providing access to basic needs such as food and hygiene supplies.
“Meet the Need is an opportunity to invest into community programs, projects and initiatives that fund Made in Surrey solutions,” says Romei. “Getting involved in this initiative gives Surrey residents and businesses the opportunity to show their support at home – in Surrey.”
While we continue to physically distance, it’s essential that we safely come together as a community to support those that need help during this unprecedented time. Together, we can Meet the Need for Surrey.
Make an impact in your community by donating to the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society Fund online here. Donations are kindly managed by Vancity Community Foundation.