Social Services Recovery Task Force

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.

In October 2020, the Social Services Task Force put together an update outlining objectives, progress so far and next steps. Click to view the full report.

“Agencies are partnering together to do things that we tried very hard to do before COVID-19, but now we’re in a place where we absolutely have to do this. It is strengthening the fabric of the social service network in our community. We’re recognizing gaps that we didn’t even know existed as a result of COVID-19.”

- Shawn Quigley Executive Director of Youth Diversion, Social Services Recovery Task Force member