Building Community Online | Resident Services Outreach

Building Community Online | Resident Services Outreach

We recently sat down with Yahaira Objio, Resident Services Program Director, to learn more about how residents are being engaged and informed during IBA's office closure.

The IBA COVID-19 response has been rapid, structured, and organized across all programs. The Resident Services staff has remained in place to continue offering programming and support to residents and participants. Starting on March 17, the program moved to a remote operational structure. Residents have received the support of our Resident Services Coordinators as we continue to find innovative ways to contribute to their physical and emotional well-being remotely.

During the pandemic, the program has focused all its efforts on ensuring that our residents, especially the most vulnerable in the community, have all the resources available to cope with this emergency and get their basic needs met. Throughout the pandemic, we have continued case coordination for ongoing cases, and new cases that have been referred to us.

Response to COVID-19

The Resident Services staff provide a cluster of support services, tailored to the specific needs of each resident. During the pandemic, we have offered the following services:

  • Assistance with applying to Unemployment Assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), WIC, and rent and utility bill funding support.
  • Connection to food access programs and coordination of services to ensure that all residents receive adequate nutrition.
  • Referrals to congregate meals sites and connections to organizations that work to reduce loneliness.
  • Coordination of medical and pharmaceutical services, crisis interventions, homemaker, advocacy, isolation intervention and outreach.
  • Technology trainings so that residents can communicate more effectively remotely and connect with loved ones.
  • Online rent payments to help residents build their credit through our Rent Tracking program.

Connecting with Residents

Resident Services staff have been making daily phone calls to residents, especially to those in our aging community. This enables us to find out how they are managing during the pandemic and if they have any needs as a result of this crisis. We have also been encouraging residents to complete the 2020 Census.

We’ve contacted more than 115 residents, ages 55 years old and older and have used email and postal mail, in addition to these phone calls, to communicate more effectively with them.

We have made digital flyers for residents and displayed them on our TV screen, located at 100 West Dedham St., outside of our community room, to keep them informed of the resources and information they need to know related to IBA operations and programming.

As a means for minimizing loneliness and promoting a healthy home environment for our tenants, and community in general, we are offering bi-weekly Zumba classes through Zoom and on Facebook Live. We are also coordinating craft workshops and Merengue/Salsa classes.

To facilitate access to food for our most vulnerable population, the Resident Services Program joined forces with Fresh Truck to implement the Fresh Box Program. This program offers seniors a free box of 25 pounds of food every two weeks. This initiative is a great relief for our elders who have physical difficulties or lack family support resources to access food in the midst of this pandemic.

Until we can all be back at Villa Victoria, Resident Services will continue to find safe ways to meet the needs of our residents.