During this time of COVID-19, L'Arche Toronto Homes, as an essential front-line community service, continues to work to maintain a safe and comfortable home life for our members who have intellectual disabilities but also for our front-line staff (assistants) many of whom are live-in. In order to do so, we have needed to maintain all of our staff positions and increase relief assistant roles in order to provide essential extra help. We also need to pay for safe transport to ferry live-out staff to and from work. We have also needed to acquire many items for the four homes that we would not normally need at all or in such quantity, such as personal protective devices, water, cleaning products, canned goods, paper products and other staples.
We also continue to provide daily support and support to members of our Sol Express and TIFS programs online and by phone. This has resulted in the need for video communication through web conferencing and the augmentation of our telephone/internet budgets. Given the potential length of community measures to fight COVID-19 including the physical distancing measures, these costs are expected to rise over the next months.
L’Arche Toronto Homes needs funds to support our dedicated employees and to help cover the extraordinary costs of funding our fight to combat COVID-19 in our homes and to maintain safe homes for members and workplaces for our staff. We expect total costs to exceed $25,000 over time and are concerned that, if funds are not augmented, this will affect our ability to provide other needs over the next year.
L'Arche Toronto offers four east Toronto homes on Simpson, Greenwood, Mortimer and Gamble Avenues for 21 individuals, day programs such as Sol Express, a creative and performance arts program for another 40, employment and volunteerism supports, a one-to-one life skills program called Trying It on For Size, TIFS, for another 10, and through an extended community of family, friends and neighbours, an all-encompassing circle of support.
Our staff includes approximately 50 full and part-time assistants. We also have a dedicated group of almost 35 volunteers, and a group of over 50 supporting community members, many of whom have been with us for years. This involvements speaks volumes about the depth of commitment to L’Arche Toronto and to people with intellectual disabilities.
Over one in 50 individuals has an intellectual disability in Canada. Many live in their family home for decades, often lacking the opportunity to become independent and to live a full and meaningful life. We provide a rounded life experience for 21 individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities in safe and affordable housing.