Comox Valley Community Health Network

June 2020 Newsletter Few of us would have ever imagined that, in our lifetime, we would live through a global pandemic. Our communities are beginning to come out of isolation and back to face-to-face connection (at least for now). The Health Network has created a space to help to make sense of the times we are in and to share ideas about how we could support each other better during the next phase of the pandemic. As part of that process, we want to take time to imagine a path forward that includes greater environmental and social justice, health, vibrancy, and resilience for the Comox Valley. We are starting this process with our Community Conversations this month. Scroll down for more info. We would love to have you join us. A Message from Our Co-Chairs Our Network unequivocally stands against individual and systemic racism and is committed to fight for equity and social justice for racialized people. Experiencing racism, microaggressions, race and class-based violence is bad for individual and community health. We recognize that the social determinants of health are deeply affected by racism and that addressing racism directly, with strength, knowledge, resources, and education is the only way to ensure that the multiple barriers to racial equality in Canada are removed. We are committed to the work of anti-racism and decolonization that is required in order for all members of our community to thrive. This work takes listening, thoughtful and difficult conversations, including examining our white privilege and blind spots for those of us who are white. This is work the Coordinating Circle of the Network is engaging in individually and collectively. Look for our statement in the coming weeks about the work we are doing, and a call to action about the work you can do to combat and dismantle racist and colonial systems of oppression that keep us all from realizing our full potential. Kate Fish and Betty Tate Co-Chairs on behalf of the Coordinating Circle of the Comox Valley Community Health Network Network Updates This will be a two hour gathering on Zoom. We welcome you to join by computer or by phone. These sessions are built around conversations in small groups of four or five people. We encourage people who are able to gather safely in person (up to 5 people), to do so and join the gathering using one computer or phone. We will have captioning and Sign Language Interpretation available for anyone that needs it. We are offereing two different dates and times to accomodate people's schedules. You can sign up for one of two sessions: Tuesday, June 23rd from 10am to Noon OR Thursday, June 25th, from 6:30 to 8:30pm More Info + Register Pathways Community Service Directory - Comox Valley The Comox Valley Division of Family Practice and the Comox Valley Community Health Network are pleased to announce the launch of the on-line Community Service Directory providing services, programs, and useful information to Comox Valley residents. The directory is easy to navigate and search; it provides local, regional, and provincial resources covering many topics and populations, including addiction services, mental health supports, senior’s services, food/housing supports, First Nations services, and many more. The Comox Valley Community Health Network will help keep the information current and will publish updated community information on the homepage. Look out for the Comox Valley AHERO (Ad Hoc Emergency Resources Organization) Resource Guide for the public and the Comox Valley Resource listings for those working with unsheltered, vulnerable individuals. We invite community organizations to visit the Community Service Directory, look up their own organization, and provide feedback using the “Contact Us” link at the bottom of every page. Please let us know if other resources need updating or are missing. If you would like to partner with Division to support the directory or want more information, please contact Lyndsey Jennings at Pathways Comox Valley Network Support of COVID-19 Responses Our Network, in partnership with the Comox Valley Regional District, distributed funds to support front line responses to the COVID-19 crisis around homelessness, food security and senior’s isolation. Below is an update on the incredible work being done across the Valley to help our most vulnerable community members. Thank you to our partners for all their hard work and dedication to community safety and health. Poverty Reduction and Food Security LUSH Valley Food Action Society has been working with over 20 agency partners to deliver their Emergency Food Program which includes both a Hot Meal Program and the Good Food Box throughout the pandemic. To date they have served over 1700 meals to over 450 clients registered for the Hot Meal Program and have delivered almost 2000 Good Food Boxes to people at risk of food insecurity or who are food insecure. Many other groups in our community are providing emergency food services including the Comox Valley Food Bank, the Salvation Army, K'omoks First Nation, the Cumberland Community School Society, the Black Creek Food Bank, Wachiay Friendship Centre, Sonshine Lunch Club, Comox Valley Family Services, the Denman Island Community Education Society and the Hornby and Denman Community Health Care Society. Lush Valley Housing "When you don't have a home It is impossible to self-isolate, practice physical distancing (in many circumstance) or good hygiene to protect oneself and others" - Andrea Cupelli, Coordinator for the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness The Coalition worked extremely hard with their member agencies and community partners to ensure that people had access to food, water, masks, hand sanitzer, showers and supports during the crisis. In partnership with BC Housing and Island Health they created processes and protocols to address needs, including access to motel rooms with wrap around services (food, staff support, harm reduction services) for medically fragile unhoused people to isolate when necessary. Coalition to End Homelessness Connect Warming Centre In response to COVID-19, the Warming Centre increased their hours of operation from Monday to Friday from 1:00 to 5:00 pm to 7 days a week from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm as well as increasing outreach services to connect more regularly with vulnerable people. They continue to see 30+ people per day with strict protocols in place proving that this is an essential service for our community's unhoused people. Comox Valley Senior Support Society Comox Valley Seniors Support Society has 100 volunteers who are supported by 3 staff, all of whom are doing an amazing job of providing support to seniors in the Comox Valley during the COVID-19 pandemic. The range of support extends from Fanny Bay to Black Creek. Support has included:

  • phone calls to isolated seniors

  • weekly and emergency shopping

  • hot lunch delivery

  • information and referrals to services and supports

  • assistance with applications and

  • free counseling

Senior Support Society RESOURCES Information about COVID-19 For information about COVID-19 the Comox Valley Community Health Network recommends looking to the following websites for the most reliable sources of information: The BC Centre for Disease Control Island Health Health Link BC BC COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool Public Health Agency of Canada The network is: A forum for our community to identify, prioritize and take collaborative action to make improvements in determinants of health. We focus on areas for change that require the involvment of multiple people, groups, and organizations to develop and implement solutions. Our network includes Courtenay, Comox, Cumberland, K’omoks First Nation and areas A, B, and C We advocate for :

  • A basic income for all and national dental and pharmacare programs.​​​​​​

  • Appropriate, affordable housing for all.

  • Access to safe supply and/or legalization of all drugs.

  • A change post crisis that sees a focus on planetary health, sustainability and a shift to focus on renewable energy.