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 Monday June 15th 2020:

“Odyssey House Emergency Shelter has implemented additional precautionary public health measure for clients and staff in response to the news of having a positive tested case for COVID-19. With the individual in a safe separate isolation, Alberta Health Services (AHS) confirmed that the shelter is safe to remain open and provide services to anyone experiencing domestic violence.

AHS staff came to the shelter to test the individual. Once the test came back positive, we were able to work with our sister shelters and local hotels to modify our services to continue to support those that are experiencing family violence. All individuals accessing the shelter including employees were tested as a precaution, Odyssey House test results were all negative apart from the one case. All employees will continue to follow all health and safety procedures according to Odyssey House’s Pandemic plan. AHS has assessed that it is safe for the shelter to remain open to provide support for anyone who needs our services.

Along with ongoing social distancing and cleaning protocols in place, admitting staff will continue practicing with AHS recommended Personal Protective Equipment at the time of resident’s intake, and any individuals experience symptoms are asked directly to self-isolate in a self-contained room while they stay in the shelter, with testing practices available and Alberta Health service instruction. AHS representatives commended Odyssey House on our procedures and indicated the precautions taken prevented what could have been a more serious situation. If you are experiencing domestic violence, you do not have to move into the shelter to get help. You can also access confidential services such as one-on-one support, safety planning, and risk assessment by phone by calling our 24-hour crisis line 780-532-2672 anytime!

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. You have our upmost gratitude!

Odyssey House Emergency Shelter provides crisis intervention, long-term support and education for those affected by family violence in rural communities.”

Media Inquiries May Be Directed To:

Lisa Watson
Executive Director,
Odyssey House
Cell: 780-402-0789

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!