More than $100,000 in COVID-related grants are being distributed to Langley agencies that work with temporary foreign workers, indigenous artists, and people with physical and mental challenges.
On Wednesday, Jan. 27, SurreyCares Community Foundation announced funding from the federal Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) would be distributed to Options Community Services, Coast Salish Arts & Cultural Society, Langley Pos-abilities Society, Encompass Support and Inclusion Langley Society.
The $350 million ECSF was set up to help community organizations serve vulnerable Canadians during the COVID-19 crisis.
Distribution of the ECSF is being handled by the Community Foundations of Canada, United Way Centraide Canada and the Canadian Red Cross.
Since Langley doesn’t have a community foundation that is participating in the program, SurreyCares handled the distribution, explained Christine Buttkus, foundation executive director.
“We’re really glad to be able to support other communities,” Buttkus told the Langley Advance Times.
The grants are the second round of funding, following the first round in July that saw more than $70,00 donated to Sources Community Resources Society, which operates in White Rock, Surrey and Langley.
READ ALSO: Sources receives $70K from SurreyCares
Here’s how $107,000 in funds were distributed in Langley:
A $14,470 grant went to Options Community Services Society for their Township of Langley Outreach for their Vulnerable Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) Project.
The project is to support vulnerable TFWs as they manage the impacts of COVID-19 by disseminating information on rights and responsibilities and resources through community and volunteer outreach and engagement.
Iris Solorzano, Program Manager at Options Community Services Society, said many of the recent arrivals of Temporary Foreign Workers are young males who are away from their families for the first time.
“The mandatory quarantine of two weeks was emotionally challenging for many, followed by the learning curve post-quarantine,” Solorzano said.
“We experienced a high volume of TFWs reaching out for mental health support, health information, resources or just the need to connect with someone in their own language at all hours of the day and night.”
Options will now be able to increase the number of hours of their current staff, from part-time with 17 hours per week to 35 hours per week.
Options has also partnered with Fraser Health Authority (FHA) to provide extra support and guidance for TFWs in accessing COVID-19 resources.
Coast Salish Arts & Cultural Society has received $19,100 to support virtual programs that aim to expand the communication reach of all indigenous people living within Coast Salish territories, to assemble and impart their knowledge via mentoring by sharing cultural teachings and protocols through social media platforms.
Langley Pos-abilities Society has received $42,250 for the COVID – 19 Rescue Project to reorganize and reinstate their organization’s operational structure to achieve their objective of providing support to people with disabilities while adhering to the Social Distancing and COVID regulations. As well, the funding will enhance and expand the organization’s outreach, especially during these trying times.
Encompass Support received $25,190 for their “Reducing Barriers for Mental Health Support for Children During COVID” project, funding that will help in expanding counselling services during the pandemic.
“Through this program, vulnerable individuals going through mental stress due to increased isolation, confronting illness, and facing difficulties in coping with changes brought on by COVID will receive appropriate counselling; children will have faster access to therapy,” the announcement said.
Inclusion Langley Society received $6,000 for its Safe Services and Supports program to ensure access to required personal protective equipment (PPE) and to reorganize operational procedures to guarantee the maintenance of social distancing regulations.