- On February 10, 2021
Prioritizing Resident Wellness in Times of Crisis
The past year brought about a pandemic, financial crisis, social unrest and many other hardships for individuals and families across the United States. These challenges are not yet behind us: experts predict that the early months of 2021 will be among the deadliest since the pandemic began, making the continued support of the health and wellness of our residents essential.
At IBA, the health of our community and residents of our affordable housing is a top priority and continues to drive the services we provide. Below, we outline the steps that IBA is taking to preserve the physical and mental wellbeing of our residents.
Food Access and Stability
COVID-19 has made many of our residents – especially the elderly and those with underlying health conditions – hesitant to venture to their usual grocery stores. Recognizing these residents’ concerns, IBA has stepped in to ensure that all residents can access healthy, affordable food without risking their wellbeing. Since the beginning of the pandemic, IBA has held 39 food distribution events, supplying nutritious food to households in need in our community. Our Resident Services team has also been checking in frequently with all our residents to ensure that they have access to basic resources and, when necessary, dropping off groceries directly to their doors.
In addition to creating these new programs and initiatives to increase food stability, we have also recently resumed our partnership with Fresh Truck, which was temporarily put on hold at the beginning of the pandemic. Each Friday, the Fresh Truck visits Villa Victoria, providing our residents with access to high-quality, affordable produce, which might otherwise be inaccessible.
COVID-19 Information in Spanish
When the pandemic hit, we realized that there was a shortage of information about the virus in Spanish, and that we had to do something to ensure that all of our residents could access resources that were critical to maintaining their health and safety. As a result, IBA worked with experts to develop and distribute key COVID-19 information and updates in Spanish through letters, emails and virtual town halls, among other avenues.
This effort is ongoing; as policies, case numbers, vaccination information and public health recommendations change, we continue to translate and distribute updated information in Spanish. We will maintain doing so in the coming months, as more Massachusetts residents become eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Even as we focus on the physical health of our residents, we recognize the mental toll that this pandemic has taken. Over the past year, IBA has worked tirelessly to maintain a sense of community among our residents and those in our extended IBA family. In addition to encouraging our community members to check in on one another, we have worked to create a sense of belonging and unity through virtual programming and regular check-ins with our Resident Services team. This year’s virtual Festival Betances, for example, attracted over 50,000 viewers from around the world, demonstrating how the arts can help build a sense of community that is not defined by geography.
We have also partnered with Friendship Works to hold outdoor serenades, which allow our residents to connect with one another and build community at a safe distance. Sitting on their balconies or spreading out on Plaza Betances, our residents can listen to these concerts and feel a sense of joy and unity as they bond over their shared love of music.
While the months ahead are expected to be difficult, IBA will continue supporting our residents however we can to preserve their physical, mental and emotional health. We do not know how much longer this pandemic will keep us physically isolated from one another, but we do know that we will emerge stronger if we continue to navigate this crisis as we have all along: together.
We are proud to be working to develop housing opportunities for low-income households in Boston. For more information on how you can support IBA, please visit our page: http://www.ibaboston.org/donat......