Last Update: April 1st 2020 at 10:00am
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic has changed life for all of us in many new and unsettling ways. At Mission Services of London, we are committed to serving those in our community who are experiencing – or at risk of – homelessness, mental illness, addiction and poverty.
Unfortunately, many of those experiencing homelessness are among the most vulnerable to a virus outbreak due to compromised immune systems and chronic health conditions. In the midst of this upheaval, we are committed to continuing to respond to people experiencing need, affirm human dignity, and inspire hope as best we can – no matter the challenges we face.
As the pandemic continues to progress, we are following the guidance of health officials and will continue to do so. We are also working with service providers across the city around a system response and are in frequent contact with the City of London and Middlesex-London Health Unit.
What our service looks like will no doubt evolve as the emergency continues to unfold and health guidelines are updated. At this time, we are taking the following steps to protect clients, staff, and volunteers:
- Educating staff, volunteers and clients about COVID-19
- Implementing strict hygiene standards:
- Monitoring and increasing our supply of cleaning products and personal protective equipment as possible
- Educating staff, volunteers, and clients about proper hand washing and respiratory etiquette
- Thorough and consistent cleaning of common areas and high-touch surfaces
- Implementing physical distancing measures:
- Advising staff with travel histories outside of Canada to self-isolate for 14 days
- Asking that staff and volunteers who are sick stay home
- Facilitating working from home arrangements and electronic communication where possible
- Exploring options for client isolation in collaboration with City of London and Middlesex-London Health Unit
- In conjunction with the City of London and Middlesex-London Health Unit, we are responding to the need for physical distancing in our emergency shelters by providing off-site hotel options to some of our clients; some clients remain in our shelter space while others are in hotels in order to comply with the recommended physical distance guidelines. We will continue to provide support to our clients both inside the shelters and off-site.
- Facilitating multiple sittings during meals to ensure that no more than 21 people are occupying a cafeteria at any time; as well as asking clients to sit one person per table in the dining area
- Implementing necessary changes to programs:
- Implementing screening procedures for clients in programs at all branches
- Implementing modified intake procedures as appropriate
- Cancelling public tours of all branches until further notice
- Suspending community outings where that is a usual part of client programming
- Temporarily closing the Mission Store retail space until further notice (our online stores on Amazon and eBay remain open. Please visit the Mission Store website for more information)
- Temporarily closing the Administration Office to visitors until further notice
- Suspending gift-in-kind (i.e. donated goods) drop-off and pick-up services at the Mission Store, Administration Office, Rotholme Family Shelter, Quintin Warner House, and Community Mental Health Programs until further notice
- Suspending used clothing donations to the Men’s Mission
- Temporarily closing the Resource Centre at Community Mental Health Programs until further notice
- Continuing to offer shelter diversion services to families through Rotholme Family Shelter via phone, email, and text; in-person meetings with families will be suspended until further notice
- Suspending community visits at Rotholme Family Shelter. If you would like to get in contact with a family staying at Rotholme Family Shelter, please call the office at 519.673.4114 and leave a message for them.
With these safety measures in place, we are continuing to offer safe shelter and care to the most vulnerable among us.
When we support men, women, and children in need, we can help reduce their exposure to the illness and help improve their lives in the long term.
If you wish to join our efforts at this time, we would be most appreciative of financial donations made online which reach us immediately. These will enable us to secure the supplies that we need to continue offering vital services at this crucial time. Supplies that we purchase may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- disposable cups, plates, bowls, and cutlery
- travel-size hand sanitizer
- toilet paper
- cleaning products
- personal protective equipment
- grocery store gift cards for outreach clients
If you prefer, we are also able to accept donations in the form of cheques made payable to Mission Services of London and mailed to 4-797 York St., London, Ontario, N5W 6A8.
With much of our financial team working remotely to practice physical distancing, there may be a delay in issuing 2020 donation receipts. Please note that all 2019 donation receipts have already been mailed out to donors. We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause and wish to assure you that your donations are being received and put to great use.
Thank you for your generosity and compassion in these trying times. The safety of staff, volunteers and clients will remain our top priority as we follow guidance from health officials at each of our branches.