Updates from Acting Executive Director

Greetings,

While I understand that these are unprecedented times, I sincerely hope you are staying safe, connected and finding support in ways that are meaningful. From isolation and stress to financial insecurity, the pandemic has certainly affected all of us in a number of ways.

I’ve seen the numbers and it is assured that the queer community has been one of the hardest hit, and we can only imagine that the compounding stressors of sexual orientation, gender identity, and racialization are exacerbating these conditions. 

  • According to National Survey Results, employment security during the COVID-19 crisis has impacted more than half (53%) of Canada’s LGBTQI2S households. 
  • When asked about victims of domestic violence specifically, 54% of the responding victim services reported an increase in the number of victims they served during this time. 
  • Individuals requesting services at our own organization have also expressed a self-perceived increase of anxiety, loneliness, depression and concerns regarding increased substance use and overdose. 

While none of us were expecting for a second wave to happen this quickly, I want you to know that our team has been preparing to support you. 

In response to the increased need for safety measures, we remain in the Orange Phase of our return to work policy. This implies that:

  • The harm reduction program is reducing its in person hours to wednesdays from 12 to 8 pm. Community members can still order harm reduction supplies online to be delivered to their home. 
  • All other services will continue to be offered virtually, unless community members request accessible accommodations. 
  • Employees are to work from home.
  • All internal and external meetings are to be had virtually.

We are also upscaling important mental health resources available to you. We realize that this is key in a time where support services are increasingly needed. We urge you to access or promote these extremely important services:

In times of uncertainty, we are all looking for some stability and assurance. Taking this into consideration, the Board of Directors has extended my term as Acting Executive Director until April 1, 2021. We will continue to welcome new applicants.

As your Acting Executive Director, I will ensure that our organization is in a position to strategically support our communities through this second wave of the pandemic. While we are all too familiar with this pandemic life, compassionately working together will certainly get us through it. Whether you pick up groceries for someone in need, call a 2SLGBTQIA senior, help connect queer individuals to important community services or complete a gesture as simple as wearing a mask, you are showing up for MAX and your community.

To support these very important programs in response to the  COVID-19 pandemic, please consider donating directly through our website. 

Yours truly,

Matthew Harding

Acting Executive Director

MAX Ottawa

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