Jul 13COVID Response: From Emergency to Recovery and Resilience
As the reality of the coronavirus pandemic found its way throughout the Pacific Northwest, Mercy Housing Northwest was rapidly pivoting and learning so much about what it meant for the communities we serve. As a housing organization, shelter-in-place took on new resonance.
Resident Services staff have always made it a priority to build strong, lasting relationships with residents. When our ways of connecting to our community changed overnight, it was even more apparent how essential onsite services provided a lifeline to residents. Resident Services Coordinators were connecting kids and parents to their teachers, administrators, computers, and internet access. We were increasing wellness checks on seniors to fight isolation, anxiety, and depression as we socially distanced. We helped residents, rocked by the economic impact of coronavirus, to apply for unemployment benefits, secure stimulus payments and file taxes.
In a matter of weeks, the Resident Services teams’ efforts to connect residents with food increased tenfold. We leveraged corporate donations, food bank partnerships, and onsite community spaces to ensure residents would have access to food during these challenging times. Those efforts continue, thanks to creative new partnerships such as Community Kitchens for Affordable Housing Residents, where we have joined Bellwether Housing, Community Roots Housing and Seattle Chinatown International District Public and Development Authority (SCIDpda) to have local restaurants prepare meals for residents in our King County communities. This partnership was made possible by a generous COVID response grant from Bank of America Foundation. We have also launched a new partnership with Safeway and its Nourishing Neighbors grant program, allowing us to provide food access programming statewide through the end of 2020 with their support.
The overwhelming support that everyone showed Mercy Housing Northwest residents and staff has touched so many lives. It is powerful to see people across the Northwest come together with such selflessness in the face of unprecedented challenges. From individual volunteers to caring organizations, so many of you have helped through food drives, meal deliveries, gift cards, and cleaning supply donations. Thank you.
As an organization, we carry the inspiration of this overwhelming community support into our next challenge, which is ensuring residents can be resilient during the recovery period. We look forward to sharing more of these plans with you in the weeks and months ahead.
COVID response by the numbers
- Resident Services has devoted 4,500 services to keep youth busy – including educational support, enrichment activities, social and emotional learning opportunities, and recreation.
- Since March, the Resident Services team has provided more than 35,000 food services!
- Thanks to Capital One, 148 tablets with internet service plans were provided to Mercy Magnuson Place residents.
- 90% of the restaurant partners in our Community Kitchens for Affordable Housing Residents program are women/minority-owned business enterprises.
- 94 households moved into the brand-new Gardner House affordable housing community in Seattle’s Mount Baker neighborhood, many of them moving in as shelter-in-place mandates reached Washington state. Take a virtual tour of the new building, meet families at Gardner House, and see other videos from our Virtual Grand Opening week at allenfamilycenter.org