UPDATE: March 31, 2020
No doubt, this social distancing thing is hard on all of us. Social gatherings are the lifeblood of Indwell’s programs, and yet—as for so many—social distancing rules and recommendations have meant that for the time-being we can’t meet together as we usually do. For tenants at the Perkins Centre in Hamilton, Friday Music Club is one such program that’s been impacted.
That didn’t stop our Hamilton apartments team from trying something new. Inspired by videos of people in Italy playing music from their balconies, they found a way for this important social “gathering” to still happen. Equipped with a few pylons and an extension cord, tenant Bill Vis enthusiastically took to the parking lot and played some of his favourite hymns for tenants and neighbours to enjoy “together.”
UPDATE: March 30, 2020
Things continue to progress, albeit a little slower, at all of our projects while non-essential services in Ontario being forced to close. Our crews are staying safe and keeping their space.
This past Friday, our building at 500 James St N in Hamilton was air-tightness tested and it’s tiiiight ! Less than 0.2 air changes per hour, which is 1/3 of the target for Passive House certification!
Thank you everyone for the beautiful cards and letters you’ve been sending! Your “presence” through words of encouragement is so meaningful during this time of isolation.
UPDATE: March 27, 2020
Just want to share this encouraging note from a tenant today. P. Ravensbergen & Sons in Grimsby donated some beautiful flowers to bless our tenants and staff.
Dear Ravensbergen Family,
Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful begonias with the Indwell residents! I live at Rudy Hulst and was so thrilled to receive such a lovely potted plant! You are so very thoughtful to share these lovely plants with us while isolated. And how special to see so many colours and getting to choose one ourselves is such a delightful opportunity!
Thanks so very much, and please know we will really appreciate the joy and encouragement that comes from this gift!
Thank you also for finding the words to express on the postcard. It makes your gift even better because of sharing the Easter Message and will encourage us if isolation is still in effect at Easter!
Thanks for sharing your flowers with us during this difficult time! It will be a pleasure to enjoy them in our apartment and see them grow!
UPDATE: March 25, 2020
In a previous update, we promised we’d have some hands-on ways for you to help—especially around food security, which is a real concern for some of our tenants. In fact, we had a plan which we’d hoped to roll out across each of the four cities we have programs in. However, Monday’s provincial announcement forced us to reconsider—for both the health of our tenants and our wider communities.
That being said, there are still plenty of ways you can help. Here are a few:
Essentially, the most practical way you can help right now is by continuing to donate. Your gifts are needed now more than ever as we navigate our way through this crisis and cultivate communities of hope.
2. Fight Social Isolation
Our tenants would love to hear from you! Now, more than ever, it is important that our tenants feel connected with others, even if they cannot be physically connected. Mail a card or note of encouragement to be shared with our tenants who are feeling isolated at this time.
3. Give to our Tenant Support Fund
We’ve also established a special fund for helping our tenants through this unsettling time of social distancing and self-isolation. You can give directly to that fund here.
4. Continue to pray
Today, please remember especially our staff who provide direct support to our tenants. We’re trying to be strategic in order to maximize our effectiveness for the duration of this crisis. Also, I’ll be doing on Facebook live today (Wednesday, March 25) just before noon. Please join me, and many around the world as we unite in prayer.
Thank you for you for bringing out the best in our community.
Stay healthy and hopeful!
UPDATE: March 21, 2020
Initially, when COVID-19 became a “too-close-to-home” reality for many people, fear and panic was the ill-famed response. Thankfully, stories of hoarding have turned to stories of hope and encouragement. Social media has dubbed this new trend “#caremongering”.
We continue to see this positive community response across our programs, and London has been no exception. Today, our tenants at Woodfield Gate received this sweet-smelling self-care package from Bath and Body Works at White Oaks Mall.
Let’s keep up the neighbourly acts of kindness. Physical distancing doesn’t mean social detachment. Let’s use this opportunity to love our neighbours in super practical ways!
UPDATE: March 20, 2020
We are more concerned than ever for the wellbeing of those we have been called to serve. Individuals who live at Indwell face a unique set of challenges: in addition to mental and/or physical health challenges, many support systems have already been discontinued, or are more difficult to access. For some people, Indwell is family. This reality makes physical distancing even more difficult for our staff and tenants.
Yet, during these uncertain times, we see the best of our community. Many individuals and faith communities are already asking how to support our tenants and staff. Wednesday evening saw three people spend a few hours at Woodfield Gate in London making extra meals to freeze. On Thursday, we received 40 bunches of tulips at Hambleton Hall in Simcoe – enough so every tenant got a bunch.
We’re ironing out logistical details around some other ways you can help—plans around food security and social isolation busting —and will send those next week.
Right now, we have four things you can do:
1. Pray or think about:
- Tenants who are feeling additional loneliness or anxiety
- Direct support staff who are exercising real creativity around supporting our tenants when usual activities must stop
- Non front-line staff adjusting to working from home in order to stay healthy – to do their jobs, but also so they can support our programs and tenants if needed in the future (and so thankful for the technology that is making this new reality work!)
2. Send a card, drawing, cartoon—something that will encourage our tenants, put a smile on their face.
Just send to a central location in one of our cities (see addresses below) and we’ll distribute them. Or, send an encouraging email to email@example.com (put “Encouragement” in the subject line) – and we’ll print it off and distribute.
4. Next week, we’ll also roll out a new way to invest in our ministry.
Remember, you can always give at indwell.ca/donate.
Here are our program addresses:
Thank you for your care and partnership!
UPDATE: March 19, 2020
Last night, staff from London prepared 10 pans of food to stock up the freezer at Woodfield Gate—”just in case.” Several churches in Hamilton have also reached out to us looking for ways to help keep food security strong while tenants are in self-isolation.
In Simcoe, tenants and staff at Indwell’s Hambleton Hall capped of a COVID-19 teaching session with gifts of soap and tulips. Many thanks to Jarja Floral International for this thoughtful, encouraging gift!
We’re incredibly grateful for your support—keep checking back here for update and ways that you can help.
UPDATE: March 17, 2020
As you know, the Ontario government has declared a state of emergency. This means all non-essential government services as well as bars and restaurants (except for take-out) will be closed. Grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, manufacturing facilities, important public services, construction sites, and office buildings will all continue to operate.
Please be aware that this does not change anything for Indwell’s programs and projects.
We want to reiterate that the health and wellbeing of our tenants remains our priority. As well, our mission to create more affordable supportive housing across Ontario continues to unfold.
We ask that you continue to support hope and homes as we persist in our work for the health, wellness, and belonging of all those around us. Please continue to follow us here and on social media as we share stories of hope in the days to come.
March 13, 2020
At Indwell, we are committed to supporting the health of our tenants, volunteers, and staff through extraordinary circumstances. We are committed to “flattening the curve” on COVID-19, which means reducing our chances of carrying or spreading the virus—and thus, reducing our burden on the healthcare system.
We have an additional responsibility to look after vulnerable people, and we need to ensure that we are ready and able to fulfill our role at all times.
We are also committed to working together to support our tenants and each other. These are difficult times and they will affect each of us differently as we all will have different needs. We know that many of our tenants will experience isolation and anxiety. We will balance these needs with the immediate need to flatten the curve of infection rate.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Our tenants remain our priority, and we will continue to serve them throughout this time.
Our dedicated support team will remain on the ground at all of our programs.
2. Until further notice, our main office/resource centre will be temporarily closed to visitors and walk-in reception.
You can still reach our reception via phone or email (hours may vary).
3. Our staff will remain vigilant in staying healthy and reducing any chances of spreading illness.
Staff have been encouraged to work from home as much as possible for the time-being. We’ve advised staff to avoid traveling if possible, and have strongly discouraged travel outside of Canada during this time.
We ask that you pray for the good health and safety of our 600+ tenants—a number of whom deal with significant and complex health challenges—and for those for whom isolation may be exceptionally difficult.
Finally, we ask that you continue to give. In times of uncertainty, we can all get distracted by what’s going on around us, and often in times like these donations can decrease. Please continue to donate to our ongoing operations.
We will continue to monitor the situation closely. We have an incredible team, and more importantly, we put our confidence in God as we navigate our way through this challenge.