The Social Services Recovery Task Force was started by United Way in May 2020 to explore opportunities for stabilization, collaboration and coordination among agencies in the social services sector in KFL&A. This includes programs for food, homelessness, mental health, counselling and safety from violence in the region.
On March 17, 2020, the provincial government in Ontario ordered a shutdown due to Covid-19. Some essential services and businesses continued, including agencies delivering programs to serve the vulnerable.
Funding has always been unstable for many charities, and the current pandemic has impacted fundraising efforts and events. There is uncertainty and concern that many donors may need to curtail their charitable giving if they are struggling themselves. This crisis has resulted in agencies struggling to cope with increased demand, staffing shortages, and more expensive program delivery.
Charities rose to the challenge in innovative, collaborative, and caring ways. Six months into the pandemic, the taskforce is working on plans for the recovery phase and beyond.
Parallel to this, the Kingston Economic Recovery Task Force was created by Mayor Bryan Paterson to look at economic recovery. To ensure linkage between the two, Mayor Bryan Paterson (City of Kingston), Bhavana Varma (United Way), and Ian Murdoch (Kingston Economic Development) sit on both task forces.