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.

Our main offices are now OPEN to the public, from 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday.

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 (on hold in Phase 3):

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 was maintained during the early months of the pandemic. to the end of Phase 1.

Programs and Services

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

After School Programs

  • Summer programming started on July 6th and will end on August 28th.
  • Indoor and outdoor summer programming is running at a limited capacity (smaller # of children/youth attending) in order to maintain the 6′ physical distancing guideline.
  • Limited in-person summer programming includes: Arts & Crafts, Variety, Open Program, BBQs, Peer Support, Employment, Enrichment, Book Club and Youth4Truth&Reconcilitation
  • Remote programs include: Children’s Literacy, Leadership, and Cooking
  • The ASP sporting and recreational program will be on hold until further notice as per Sports Manitoba and Canada Sports Guidelines
  • Children and youth are screened once they arrive at program and strict healthy and safety guidelines are adhered to at all times.
  • 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.)

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 
  • NLI classes will resume in the fall following physical distancing and sanitization protocols.

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 will continue gardening on their balconies throughout the summer.
  • Previous tenants and volunteers are running 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 are provided over summer 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

  • Remote case management and high needs support for tenants (regular or frequent contact depending on the family)
  • 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).
  • Neighbourhood Watch continues for summer, outdoors only
  • 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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