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Brightside’s Lion’s View community garden. Credit: Brightside
Brightside Community Homes Foundation is a charitable non-profit organization that provides affordable rental homes in Vancouver, housing over 1,000 seniors, families, and people with disabilities.
Brightside runs numerous community development programs for its residents, ranging from holiday parties to community gardens to health fairs. “[While] initiatives are often social in nature and help nurture community connectiveness, underlying motivations for the approach include promoting housing stability and combatting social isolation, both crucial social determinants of health for senior renters,” explains Brightside’s Liam Griffin. “We make it a priority to ensure that residents are equipped with the information and resources they need to be healthy and to thrive.”
COVID-19 has put a hold on many such initiatives and made social isolation more difficult to address.
Most of Brightside’s residents are seniors, a population particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. This situation warrants extra caution in terms of social programming, but it intensifies social isolation. “At a fundamental level, pandemic restrictions have interrupted one of the most crucial aspects of community housing,” says Griffin, “namely the in-person social cohesion that comes from programmatic and day-to-day social activities.”
Brightside staff have been taking extra steps to work safely and assist residents. A COVID-19 Advisory Committee was set up early in the pandemic, and communications have focused on filtering and providing critical information to residents who may lack access to or ability to sort through the challenging amount of information from government and other sectors.
|Download Summer 2021|
To read more about Brightside’s approach to community development both before and during the pandemic, see “Pushing the Envelope of Community Resilience,” in the Summer 2021 edition of Input. Download Summer 2021
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