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 May 11, 2020, IRCOM is expanding our in-person services for vulnerable clients, but we are retaining a significant amount of remote services. Our main offices remain closed to the public, but there will be staff in each office from 10am -3pm daily for deliveries or urgent situations.

Please click here to access our current on-site program staff directory

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. Ongoing regular contact by phone is maintained during the pandemic.

Programs and Services

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

After School Programs

  • IRCOM ASP staff continue virtual homework assistance
  • Limited in-person homework assistance, peer support, youth employment and leadership team support is now happening for groups of 5 youth or less
  • IRCOM ASP staff connect with schools/teachers to coordinate and support school-based learning plans
  • Staff have continued contactless distribution of donated devices to youth lacking technology, and distribution of activities packages to tenant children (crayons, colouring, games, etc.)

Newcomer Literacy Initiative

  • Assignments are sent virtually to current students (continuing PBLA)
  • Teachers contact students 2-4 times a week with calls, videos, activities or messages 
  • Teachers are dropping off learning packages and binders to higher CLB levels (3/4) 
  • 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
  • Help with access to benefits such as the CERB, EI, EIA, will continue remotely (and limited in-person), as well as ID support and CRA My Account trouble shooting
  • To make a referral or appointment, please contact:

Housing

  • Providing housing to vulnerable refugee families will always be an essential service for IRCOM.
  • Help with move-ins/move-outs 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

  • Virtual volunteering opportunities available, apply online at http://bttr.im/otznj
  • IRCOM staff will issue communication updates to current volunteer pool
  • Staff will provide support to foreign practicum student as the situation evolves
  • Virtual connection with Indigenous communities through Common Ground will continue

Greening Program

  • Planning for the garden plots has begun and tenants will start gardening in June
  • Previous tenants and volunteers will run the program in accordance with the safety measures as indicated by the province
  • Donations of seeds and soil are welcome

Child Care Program

  • Limited child care services will be provided for one family at a time as required by the Community Resource Program or House
  • 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 tenants and EAL students in community (word searches, crafts kits)

Community Resource Program

  • Remote case management and high needs support for tenants (regular or frequent contact depending on the family)
  • Limited in-person new tenant orientation
  • Limited in-person Needs Assessments and referrals
  • Essential needs (food hampers, diapers, etc.) are being determined and distributed to tenants by donation
  • 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

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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