Mum with crying baby

You can help us avoid future outbreaks in shelter

Posted on February 15, 2022 in Current News

Active outbreaks mean we can’t take any new people into shelter. We experienced one in January, and are experiencing another as of February 24th, 2022.

Because the Omicron variant is extremely transmissible, we know we won’t be able to avoid outbreaks in shelter entirely during this next phase of the virus. But we are going to try and minimize outbreaks the best we can. It’s too heartbreaking to turn people (especially people with young children) away.

We’ve received recommendations from Peterborough Public Health, and know the steps we can take to avoid future outbreaks in shelter. But these steps depend on resources that we do not have. These include:

Proactive rapid testing of staff.

We have received some rapid tests from the Red Cross, and the City of Peterborough, but not nearly enough to test our 40 staff members, 2-3 tests per week. We need help ensuring we have enough tests so that our staff can take them when needed and proactively, as well as provide tests to clients who are experiencing symptoms.

Provide N95 masks to all youth and staff in shelter.

N95 masks are known to be the most effective at limiting the spread of the virus, and many people won’t enter a public place without one.

We’d like to provide N95 masks to all staff and clients to limit the possibility of catching COVID in shelter and out in the world.

Provide enough sick days to staff to ensure no one is coming to work with symptoms.

It’s important that our staff aren’t worried about losing income if they can’t come to work due to being sick with COVID-19. But this means covering the cost of many, many more staff hours than in regular non-pandemic times.

Continue to host vaccine clinics for clients.

We want to ensure that our (often vulnerable) clients have the best protection possible against COVID-19, so we’ve offered vaccination clinics onsite to those who have difficulty getting to the vaccine centres in Peterborough. We want to be able to continue this practice.

Offer mental health support to youth and family clients who are struggling.

Part of staying safe through a pandemic, especially when in a housing crisis, is ensuring that mental health challenges aren’t going ignored. YES would like to continue effectively connecting clients with the individualized professional support needed to address isolation and suicidal ideation that often accompanies homelessness.; and that we’ve seen a lot more of through COVID-19.

We need your help to protect clients and staff.

All of these important steps take more resources than we have. We need your help to do everything possible to ensure our Youth and Family Emergency Shelter stays open for people needing immediate help. Please donate what you can to help youth and families in a housing crisis get through what we hope is the last of the pandemic.