The City of Ottawa established a Human Services Task Force to ensure the emerging needs of the community are being responded to. In addition to representatives from city departments and Ottawa Public Health, the task force has brought together partners from all sectors, including:
- United Way East Ontario
- Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres of Ottawa
- Ottawa Community Housing
- Ottawa Food Bank
- Canadian Red Cross
- The Salvation Army
- Ottawa Inner City Health
The task force, along with providing supports for food, housing, shelter and psychosocial in future scenarios, are exploring how to resolve issues, service gaps and community concerns. The task force will be coordinating pertinent information, service changes and emerging needs as they happen.
With twenty-three of Ottawa’s 26 food banks still open, the city is concerned that without the support required and that from volunteers, more could close in the coming weeks. Information to access the food bank is regularly updated on ottawafoodbank.ca. The Ottawa Food Bank is working on alternative pick-up locations and increasing the number of volunteers. The Stittsville Food Bank remains open, but supplies are running low. If you can donate, please do so here.
The task force is also addressing the concerns of isolated seniors. The city’s community partners are assessing the need for transportation of vulnerable residents to COVID-19 assessment centres and medical appointments.
For volunteers wanting to support the community, the management of volunteers is being examined by the task force. The city has indicated, “We recognize the generosity of those looking to volunteer. Currently, we are not seeking volunteers to help with the response to COVID-19. However, this is a priority for the City, and we are looking at ways to provide opportunities for those who want to support their community. As Ottawa Public Health has suggested, residents can help by checking in with neighbours and friends who may be vulnerable, overwhelmed, lonely or in need of help.”