COVID-19 Prevention

COVID-19 Prevention

May 13, 2020

A message from our Executive Director, Steve Doherty

May 13, 2020

The entire country banded together to fight COVID-19 for the past 9 weeks.  Here at YWS we took extraordinary steps to make the shelter as safe as possible for both the youth we serve, and the staff who come to work here every day.  This crisis offered a unique experience of both staff and residents working together for a common goal, the health and safety of everyone here at YWS.  As staff members, we never lost sight of the fact that we work in someone else’s home, and as such, we must do our part to protect the safety of others.

We have worked closely with the Shelter, Support, and Housing Authority (SSHA), Toronto Public Health (TPH), and various other groups to ensure our protocols met and exceeded recognized standards of practice.  More importantly, we worked with our youth to ensure the hygiene practices we all employed were the best possible strategy for prevention.  Some of the steps we have taken include;

  • Every person who comes into the residence washes their hands thoroughly upon entry
  • All staff members perform a health assessment prior to their shift starting
  • Any gloves worn outside of the residence are immediately discarded upon entry
  • Routine fever checks for both staff members and residents
  • We recently had the entire facility fumigated with a virus killing mist
  • Daily sanitizing of surfaces

Since the start of the isolation measures, we have stopped entry to the shelter by volunteers and all non-essential service personnel.  We have moved all non-essential staff members offsite and remote working arrangements have been made where possible.  So many of our staff members have stepped up to the plate for our youth.  We continue to offer counselling sessions with clinicians and outside agency meetings via remote connection.  Our focus has always been on the well-being of the youth we support and this situation is no different. 

I want to thank the many donors who continue to support us and the countless volunteers who have prepared and dropped off meals.  It means so much to all of us knowing we are not alone.  I salute all of the essential workers both here at YWS and across this province who go to work each day.  Without them, life would come to a standstill.  And thank you to all of the Ontarians who have been practicing social isolation and physical distancing, you are all amazing.  We are in this together, and together is how we will emerge from this challenge stronger and more resilient.

– Steve Doherty, Executive Director

March 17, 2020
Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, provided an update on the measures being put into place across the social services and youth justice sectors across Ontario to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus within our community.
Today, the Ontario Government declared the province in a state of emergency. Coinciding with recommendations from our health professionals, YWS is taking action to ensure our youth remain safe and healthy with the growing concerns of the COVID-19 virus.
YWS has enforced the following:
  • Suspension of all visitors and onsite volunteers (such as meal preparation and tutors)
  • Thorough screening for all new youth intakes
  • Thorough screening of all donated goods, corresponding with City of Toronto guidelines
  • Providing onsite flu kits and COVID-19 information for all residents and staff
  • Access to Self Assessment Screening for all residents and staff
  • Increased sanitation measures to keep our home safe
  • Posting of safe hand washing methods across the shelter
  • Suspension of all outside group activities, including March Break day trips for the resident youth
  • Following all directions from Toronto Public Health
  • Taking part in the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health’s recommendation to suspend all events of over 50 people, we are postponing Cover Me Urban until the fall. We will share the new fall date for Cover Me Urban as soon as it becomes available
Although all onsite activity with visitors and volunteers is on hold until further notice, we are currently accepting donations of goods for our youth during this challenging time. Accepted goods include non-perishable food items for our YWS kitchen and food bank.
PLEASE NOTE: All donations of goods must be pre-approved with a scheduled drop off day and time.
For more information on donating goods, please contact Anastasia at akemp@yws.on.ca.
We thank you for your support at this time, and will continue to monitor the situation to ensure the safety of the youth we serve here at Youth Without Shelter.
A message from our Executive Director, Steve Doherty
March 17, 2020
The impact of COVID-19 continues to unfold rapidly around the globe. At Youth Without Shelter (YWS) we are monitoring the situation closely in conjunction with our partners the City of Toronto and Toronto Public Health, relying upon the best up to date assessments and recommendations from leading Canadian public health authorities. At the heart of every decision we make is the health and safety of the young people we serve, the dedicated YWS Team, and our committed community of support. 
As we navigate this uncharted time, Youth Without Shelter is focused on the future, committed to empowering youth facing homelessness to reach individual potential. During these challenging times your support of Youth Without Shelter and the youth who call YWS home is especially meaningful. Thank you.
We cannot wait to welcome you to our “house” as soon as this is all behind us.  
– Steve Doherty, Executive Director