Emergency support for vulnerable people
In March 2020, the COVID-19 Emergency Fund was created to help community agencies implement exceptional measures to assist isolated and vulnerable people hit hard by the health crisis. The fund was made possible thanks to donations from businesses, organizations and unions, foundations, municipalities and boroughs, as well as community donors.
The objective of the fund was to meet emergency food needs and strengthen listening, assistance, and referral services for vulnerable and isolated people.
Fortunately, Centraide’s strong community ties and in-depth knowledge of community agencies allowed for a quick assessment of these needs. From the first few weeks of lockdown, vulnerable people were given the help they needed.
The $8 million invested allowed agencies to provide ongoing emergency support.
friendly calls or support meetings
people received emergency support
food baskets or meals delivered or given out
donations of equipment (computers, hygiene products, etc.)
COVID-19 Emergency Fund Report
Donors were generous and quickly responded to the call for the Emergency Fund. The rapid entry of donations allowed Centraide of Greater Montreal to disburse in the early days of the pandemic. Find out more by reading the Emergency Fund’s report.
The initial goal was to produce 800,000 servings over a two-month period. But given needs, we had to keep up our production. We are now at 1.8 million servings and expect to reach 2 million.”
We had to get creative to keep listening, supporting and helping people. We were able to purchase a computer and a Zoom license so that our staff could work remotely and stay connected to families.”
People in a situation of homelessness who didn’t want to leave the neighbourhood for a downtown shelter were given access to food and sleeping bags. We also gave them hygiene products and protective equipment. We continued to offer support, listening and referrals to other services.”
Requests for meals on wheels and frozen meals have increased. We developed a service to provide friendly phone calls in different languages combined with a psychosocial support service. We launched a food assistance service (with deliveries) along with a free grocery delivery service.”
Our emergency food aid allowed families in a vulnerable situation to keep getting access to healthy food. This service also helped many of our clients realize that they are not completely isolated or without resources.”
Low-income people received access to a free service to file their taxes. This helped them keep their financial assistance or access new tax credits. Some were even able to apply for the financial aid program for renters.”
We launched virtual events starting from the second week of the lockdown. Since then, we have held two virtual meetings per week with anyone who has a computer and Internet access. We have an average of 30 to 40 people at each meeting.”
We were able to maintain our shelter services despite COVID-19 (capacity: 26 women). We also extended the stays of residents and, despite this, still found ways to admit new women to the shelter.”