IRCOM’s COVID-19 Response

These are unprecedented times for IRCOM. We have shifted our service delivery model to continue to serve vulnerable refugee families during COVID-19. This includes a mix of remote and limited in-person programs and services.

In line with the Province of Manitoba’s Restoring Safe Services Together: Manitoba’s Phased Approach, and in compliance with all public health guidelines, as of June 26, 2020, IRCOM is expanding our in-person services for vulnerable clients, while retaining some remote services.

However, as a precautionary measure, IRCOM has suspended all in-person programming from September 4th until November 1st. We continue to follow all public health protocols. As our children and youth return to school, this is to reduce additional exposure.

Please click here to access our current on-site program staff directory or email us at info@ircom.ca.

New Service Launch

IRCOM has launched two new services in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic:

Essential Needs Services:

For IRCOM tenants (at present).

Food hampers and essential needs hampers (hygiene items, diapers, formula, etc.) are dropped off at the doorsteps of IRCOM tenants, for those facing income/food security challenges. Donations of food and other essential items are accepted, please call 204-943-8765.

Outreach Information Services:

For IRCOM tenants and registered IRCOM participants in the community.

Modified Needs Assessment are conducted by phone by a cross program team with needed languages. The team ensures that IRCOM tenants and participants are aware of COVID-19 information and updates, and they ask a series of questions about food security, income security, knowledge of new benefits and resources, and children’s needs and wellbeing. If necessary, tenants and participants are referred to IRCOM’s specialized services (e.g., case management, high-needs youth supports, access to benefits, crisis intervention) or to other community resources.

Programs and Services

Here is a sample of IRCOM’s current program and service continuity plan during COVID-19:

After School Programs

  • Fall programming has begun, however, no in-person programming is occurring with children and youth until November 1st
  • Staff have continued wellness check-ins and contactless distribution of donated devices to youth lacking technology, and distribution of activities packages to tenant children (crayons, colouring, games, etc.), including tech support for youth
  • Programs are continuing remotely including HEY program, Leadership, Youth Employment Program, Youth Program, and Peer Support
  • ASP Sport programming is following WYSA and MS protocols

Newcomer Literacy Initiative

  • NLI is offering Foundations and CLB 1-2 classes
  • NLI classes are resuming this fall following physical distancing and sanitization protocols
  • Limited childcare will be provided for in-person classes
  • Strategies are in place to move to a blended format (students attend fewer in-person classes and have online homework) or a virtual format if the COVID-19 situation worsens
  • Staff are helping students access technology 

Asset and Capacity Building Program

  • Income tax services will be by appointment only, and take place by phone, app, or online with newcomers who meet criteria
  • Money Management Training continues remotely
  • RESP workshops will occur in groups of less than 10 people
  • Registered Asset Building Program/Money Management Training and Matched Saving participants will receive homework in the mail.
  • Potential Saving Circle and Individual Development Account applicants will be called to arrange one-on-one application meetings
  • Help with access to benefits such as the CERB, EI, EIA, will continue remotely and in-person (limited), as well as ID support and CRA My Account trouble shooting
  • To make a referral or appointment, please contact:

Housing

  • Eligibility for IRCOM tenancy has changed. Applicants must have arrived in Canada less than 12 months ago, as opposed to our previous 6 month policy.
  • Providing housing to vulnerable refugee families will always be an essential service for IRCOM.
  • Help with move-ins/move-outs, suite repairs/ maintenance will continue along with new tenant lease signings
  • All duties required for the operation of IRCOM House will continue in as safe and efficient manner as possible.

Volunteer and Community Service Program and Common Ground Project

  • IRCOM continues to accept volunteers. Virtual and limited in-person volunteering opportunities available, apply online at http://bttr.im/otznj
  • Technology Support is being provided by appointment to tenants, families, and youth.  To address the intense technical knowledge gap, IRCOM is providing 1-on-1 help to families with basic tech support needs. 
  • IRCOM staff continue to issue communication updates to current volunteer pool
  • Staff will provide support to international practicum students as the situation evolves
  • Virtual connection with Indigenous communities through Common Ground will continue
  • In-person Common Ground events and activities are being planned subject to social distancing protocols.

Greening Program

  • Tenants have harvested many vegetables this fall. The crop was abundant!
  • Previous tenants and volunteers are running the program in accordance with the safety measures as indicated by the province

Child Care Program

  • Limited child care services are provided in small groups.
  • A YouTube channel has been developed for tenants’ and non-tenants’ children, uploaded with stories, activities (new content 2x per week) 
  • IRCOM staff have continued contactless distribution of activities packages to IRCOM tenant’s children and EAL student’s children in community (word searches, crafts kits)

Community Resource Program

  • CRP is initiating remote case management and high needs support for tenants (regular or frequent contact depending on the family)
  • This includes limited in-person new tenant orientation, office drop-ins, meetings, Needs Assessments and referrals, accompaniment to appointments.
  • Essential needs (food hampers, diapers, etc.) are being determined and distributed to tenants by donation
  • Parenting programs, Women’s Hi Tea, Men’s BBQ will be delivered to small groups
  • Early Childhood Development Hub (in partnership with Freight House Early Learning and Care) (ECD Hub) has resumed at half capacity (8 preschoolers and one infant).
  • IRCOM’s High Needs Support Team (cross-departmental team focused on crisis intervention)
    • Crisis intervention by phone and referral to emergency services if needed
    • On call 24-hour coverage for after-hours emergencies at IRCOM
    • In-person supportive counselling, in-person crisis intervention, accompaniment, in-person life-skills (for high-needs tenants and youth) where required

For more information about postponed, remote and limited in-person programs and services, please click here and for a full overview of our model, see our IRCOM Vulnerable Client Service Continuity Plan

External Resources and Information

IRCOM children

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