MAX Ottawa boosts support for older guys into guys during COVID-19

The new technology-lending program will help older GBT2Q adults stay connected during the pandemic.

MAX Ottawa is set to launch a new technology-lending program that will strive to help older gay, bisexual, Two-Spirit, and queer men (GBT2Q) stay connected during the pandemic, in partnership with the Ottawa Senior Pride Network (OSPN). This support program is part of MAX’s Ottawa’s COVID-19 response strategy. 

The new technology lending program will strengthen the assistance to GBT2Q older adults, who are a particularly vulnerable segment of the queer communities during the pandemic. Electronic tablets will be mailed-out to selected GBT2Q older adults to help them connect with online health services, such as mental health support, and with the community and their networks. The program will also offer training and coaching provided by MAX staff and volunteers on how to use these devices and platforms. 

Older adults have faced challenges accessing health services even before the negative impact of physical distancing. Canada’s Social isolation of seniors: A focus on LGBTQ seniors in Canada reported that up to 53 per cent of LGBT seniors feel isolated. By offering training and increasing access to technology, we aim to better address the needs for the GBT2Q older adults community. 

“COVID-19 has been especially difficult for the members of our GBT2Q communities, in particular those at the intersection of multiple inequities, like older adults”, said Roberto Ortiz, MAX Ottawa’s Executive Director. “Before the current pandemic we were already seeing a ‘loneliness epidemic’ within our communities. We are grateful for this funding as it recognizes the multiple layers experienced by GBT2Q guys.”

“Ottawa Senior Pride Network knows that their 2SLGBTQ2+ members are enthusiastic users of technology, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic” said Holly MacKay of the OSPN Coordinating Committee. “That’s why we are pleased to partner with MAX Ottawa’s technology lending program. The chance to borrow up-to-date hardware – with good data plans! – from a trusted source like MAX Ottawa is a very welcomed opportunity. Many are looking to connect with each other and with our queer community’s on-line programming, and this will help all of us.” 

This program will be made possible through the financial assistance of the Government of Canada’s Canada Summer Jobs Program and the City of Ottawa’s COVID-19 Social Services Relief Fund. The latter was created to help community-based organizations, such as MAX Ottawa, to provide essential services and support for at-risk residents and equity-seeking groups.