Coping with COVID-19 - An Update from our Executive Director | Red Door Family Shelter

Coping with COVID-19 - An Update from our Executive Director

These past eight months have challenged all of us and our future ahead is still filled with uncertainty. I hope that during this time you and your loved ones have remained safe and healthy. Please know that we’re thinking of you and value you. Your outpouring of support has shone a bright light and continues to provide essential services for the many women, children, and families who have found sanctuary at the Red Door Family Shelter.

In late March, a single mom with her 11-year-old daughter informed a staff member that her doctor had tested her for COVID-19. She was quickly quarantined while we awaited the outcome. Upon receiving news of a positive test result, staff quickly helped mom and her daughter move into one of the city’s quarantine centres. Here she received the care she needed from a team of doctors and nurses.

Working in collaboration with Toronto Public Health and our partners at South Riverdale Health Clinic, two staff members and roommates of the mom and daughter were additionally quarantined as we awaited test results. Fortunately, everyone was cleared.

New pandemic safety protocols were quickly implemented. PPE was distributed to staff and families, deep cleaning practices were put in place, plexiglass barriers were installed, and a screening procedure was adopted. Social distancing became our new norm. And thanks to you, we received generous quantities of beautiful handmade masks and hand sanitizers to distribute to all!

Physical distancing is not possible at our Violence Against Women (VAW) Shelter. Working in partnership with the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, some of our residents were moved to a local hotel to keep them safe and ensure the wellbeing of everyone. We continue to shelter women and children in these two locations.

During this time, staff never wavered from their role to provide positive and healing spaces and resources for every woman, child and family staying at our shelters. Second Harvest made deliveries every week so that our community Food Bank continued to provide families with essential perishable and non-perishable food items. We made the necessary adjustments to this program to ensure there were no interruptions in providing service. We miss the help of our wonderful volunteers and we’re looking forward to their return in 2021!

Our housing workers never stopped striving to find safe and affordable housing for families who were ready to establish new beginnings. And because of generous people like you, we were still able to provide many of the household essentials for families when they moved into their new homes.

The pandemic is not loosening its hold yet.

In early September, a single mom with her three children (ages 10, 13, and 15), together with the guided support of a former resident, called the Red Door seeking shelter from domestic violence. As part of our safety procedures, families are tested before they are admitted to our shelter. They spend this time of isolation at a local hotel. The tests came back with two of the children testing positive for COVID-19. Mom revealed that she had been hospitalized in August with the virus. She was terrified we would turn her away! The Red Door staff reminded her with compassion that we’re here for each other and our responsibility is to keep families safe and healthy.

Because we adhere to Toronto Public Health guidelines and follow our stringent health and safety measures, we were able to prevent the virus from spreading any further. All family members are doing well and are on their way towards healing and envisioning brighter futures.

Your support has been instrumental during this time. You are building long-lasting positive change for families at the Red Door Shelter. Thank you for remaining by our side as we continue to provide a safe and healthy sanctuary for families in crisis together. 

With warm thanks,

Carol Latchford signature

Carol Latchford
Executive Director
Red Door Family Shelter