COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Update from Odyssey House

Odyssey House emergency shelter and second stage shelter are actively operating, but we wanted to share with the community some of the preventative measures we are taking at this time. Additionally, we will be providing updates actively moving forward to try and keep our community connected and informed on the shelter during the COVID- 19 situation. There is nothing more important to us than the safety of our residents, community clients, volunteers, employees and this community and we want to do our part to help keep it safe! While continuing to meet the needs and safety of the women and children, who rely on our continued operations and services.

As of 10/06/2020:

We still have daily operations as it is a communal living space, we have come up with innovative solutions to have enough spaces to accommodate self-isolation for individuals accessing services.

  • We are practicing social distancing in all communal living spaces with the recommended distances being kept and active sanitation of areas and all door handles before and after residents access the spaces.
  • Our team was able to design a COVID-19 Pandemic Plan, outlining all current procedures in place, the plan is constantly being modified to reflect updates that are happening internally, provincially and federally. Our plan includes processes that would be implemented if someone in the shelter were to test positive for COVID-19.
  • Our pandemic plan is modeled after the COVID-19 Alberta Health Services guidelines specific to women’s and homeless shelters.
  • We have direct confirmation from Alberta Health Services that they can send a nurse into our shelter to test for COVID-19 when symptoms arise. That being determined we are still urging that the self-assessment online at Alberta Health Services be taken and calling 811 if the assessment is telling us testing is required. A lab requisition is then submitted through 811 and the shelter can move forward with a nurse visit to test for COVID-19.
  • We have continued to use and replace Personal Protective Equipment items including masks, gloves and gowns when appropriate. Our teams have engaged in additional training hosted by Alberta Health Services on how to use PPE specifically in Alberta Women’s Shelters. This training focused on the different available forms of PPE and their purposes, who (clients, children, employees) uses what and when; and how to use PPE properly (donning, doffing, washing, disposal).
  • The government recognizes that shelters have continued to operate throughout the pandemic and therefore the ‘relaunch’ hasn’t had a significant shift on shelter operations.

Childcare

As of March 2020, we had to temporarily close both our daycare Centre in Serenity Place and space in Odyssey House (we were able to offer childcare support in emergent situations). Our Childcare team was finally able to re-open both our childcare spaces on Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020

Community Support

The Community Support Program for One to One support is still actively operating with client’s choice of in person social distanced meetings or online virtually options. If you or someone you know needs supports and/ or a referral to our programming please contact Community Support Manager, Heather Ferguson at 780-538-1332 X 108  or 780-814-1428 or by email outreach@odysseyhouse.ca.

 As of March 2020, we had to temporarily cancel our weekly support groups. Our Community Support team has been worked very hard and eventually was able to remotely offer digital/virtual support groups. We are excited to announce we can return to holding in person support groups. There will be a limit of 10 people for each group to maintain social distancing practices. Those wishing to attend will need to pre-register to reserve space, if you have not pre-registered, we cannot guarantee space but will accept drop-in’s as space allows. Participants will be asked Covid-19 screening questions and have temperature taken upon arrival in order to attend.

*Childcare will be available for those attending in person groups (Please keep in mind screening and temperature will be completed for children as well)

For those interested in reserving a space for any future dates in October/November please call 780-538-1332X108 to reserve or if you have any questions related to groups or our support group safety practices.

Schedule:

  • Abuse Group Wednesday 6pm-8pm
  • Self-Esteem Group Thursday 6pm-8pm
  • Parenting Group is on hold temporarily (as we replace and train new support workers)

***Once we return to in person groups, we will no longer be having group via zoom, if there are people who are still unable or uncomfortable with in person group they can contact our Community Support team and we will see about options to support your need. If there becomes a need for additional group dates to support the number of people accessing and maintain social distancing we will review, and potentially add additional groups of those that are needed to accommodate.

Please note that we are currently in the process of hiring new Community Support Workers and onboarding a new Trauma Counsellor. In recognition of theses changes if you are having difficulty reaching a previous team member please contact the Community Support Manager directly and we will ensure you are connected to the correct supports.

Public Education

As of March 2020, the Government of Alberta cancelled all school classes for in person attendance to contain the spread of COVID-19 across the province. Our Public Education team worked hard to offer our programs online for teachers and students. We moved to digital presentations with zoom and google classrooms. We recognize with the return of students to a traditional classroom means things may look a little different this year, and that’s okay! We are happy to share that we are available for online and in-person programming, whichever suits your needs bests (proper Person Protective Equipment will be worn by all facilitators in person).
If you are interested in having Odyssey House deliver school programming this year or have any questions or concerns, please connect with us via email at education@odysseyhouse.ca or by phone at 780-897-8543.

Cancelling Fundraising Events

To be responsible hosts and follow the direction of the Federal Government, Provincial Government and our local municipalities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we are saddened to announce that:

  • Phil’s Odyssey House Fun Run for June 2020 is temporarily postponed.
  • Annual Odyssey Sunrise Golf Tournament has been cancelled for 2020, we could not be more grateful for your support, and we are hopeful to plan an amazing tournament for you all in 2021!
  • 4th Annual Evening of Empowerment has been cancelled for 2020, and we are hopeful it will return for the fall of 2021.

We take the safety and health of our community, volunteers, residents/ clients and employee’s seriously and we urge everyone to follow the guidelines and protocols put forth by public health officials.

Volunteer Programming

As of March 2020, Odyssey House had to temporarily pause our volunteer programs. In order to help limit access for community members to the shelter. In order to help with social distancing and increase the safety of clients access our services, employees working on our frontlines & our committed volunteers! As of July 2020, we were able to official relaunch our volunteer program.

On behalf of our whole team, we appreciate your understanding and support now more than ever and if you have any questions regarding your current volunteer schedules or commitments please email development@odysseyhouse.ca or call 780-296-3380.

Donations

As of March 2020, we had to temporarily had to stop accepting donations at the door. As of the end of July, it was determined in partnership with Alberta Health Service we can accept donations again. Our donation ‘Drop Off’ times are Monday’s 9:00 am -12:00 noon, & Wednesday’s or Friday’s 12:00 noon – 4:00pm (except for Stat holidays). Please contact us if you need to arrange a drop off time not listed. You can reach us at donations@odysseyhouse.ca or by phone at 780-538-1332 X. 144 or 780-296-5403, and we would be happy to assist you with pick up or drop off of donations.

Odyssey House would also like to thank our staff, residents, hotel employees and community partners that assisted during these unique times. Your support and well wishes meant so much to us, without your generosity and kindness we would not have been able to continue supporting women and children experiencing domestic violence in the peace region.

Media Inquiries May Be Directed To:

Makayla Marcotte
Director of Communications,
Odyssey House
Cell: 780-296-3380
Email: development@odysseyhouse.ca

We are working diligently to meet the challenge of meeting the safety needs of the women and children, who rely on our continued operations and services.

The safety of our clients, community partners as well as the safety of shelter workers, are our top priorities. We are in daily communications with the YourAlberta (Government of Alberta) & the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) we are working to take precautions that align with the latest recommendations from Alberta Health Services .

We recognize that during times of natural disasters, there can be an increase in demand for shelter services as anxiety and external stressors can accelerate and exacerbate domestic violence situations. Evidence from previous environmental disasters and pandemics suggest that domestic violence will increase during and following this health emergency.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and the entire management team, thank you to all Childcare Support Workers, Facilities Team, and Client Support Workers/Supervisors that continue to work the front lines daily. Thank you to our teams that have shifted their roles to working remotely in attempt to create a safer space in shelter but still support our necessary services.

The Federal Minister of Women and Gender Equality & International Development wanted to send a specific note to shelter workers nationally:

Words from Minister Monsef
“Please thank your members on the ground. They do God’s work. Warmly, Maryam Monsef”

We encourage anyone facing immediate danger to call ‪911. If you suspect that someone’s life may be in danger, please call ‪911. To speak to someone call our crisis line 1-‪780-532-2672. We are actively supporting clients via the phone, and finding innovative ways to do this online.

As much as many of us are isolating for public health directives, there are as many reasons to pay attention to the well-being of those in your community and offer to help!