Maintaining Community While Physical Distancing

Maintaining Community While Physical Distancing

The country has witnessed an unprecedented shift in everyday life as local, state and federal officials advise us to practice physical distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19. As we adjust to a lifestyle marked by reduced personal interaction and increased isolation, it is essential that local communities come together to serve as support systems and beacons of hope, so that no one feels that they are facing this crisis alone.

IBA is dedicated to ensuring that our residents and community members know and feel that they are part of an integrated, supportive network during these difficult times. Here are some ways that you can stay connected to your local community, while practicing responsible physical distancing:

  • Offer a helping hand: Right now, small acts of kindness can make a big impact, especially for the elderly and chronically ill who are at higher risk of contracting a serious illness related to COVID-19. These people might not feel comfortable leaving the house to run errands, so consider reaching out and asking if there’s anything that you can do to help them. One of the simplest ways to help is to let your neighbors know before you go to the grocery store or pharmacy, offer to pick up anything that they may need and leave it on their doorstep.

    These acts of kindness can also be organized on a greater scale through organizations like the Neighborhood Aid Network, which assigns volunteers to run essential errands for people in their community who can’t leave their homes to buy groceries, household goods or medicine.
  • Stay in touch: Being stuck at home can create a feeling of isolation, but we are all in this together. Aside from easing loneliness, sharing your worries and concerns with people that you trust can help improve your mental health (World Health Organization).

    Modern technology means that anyone is just a text or call away, making it easier than ever to stay connected to the ones you love. Reach out to your friends, neighbors and relatives frequently to check in and let them know that you’re thinking of them, and remember that it’s okay to lean on others for support if you need it.

    If you find yourself overcome by feelings of sadness, fear or anxiety, the Samaritans hotline is a great resource and has people available to speak with 24/7. You can call or text 877.870.4673 if you need support.
  • Gather from a distance: One of the hardest things about physical distancing is missing community events and gatherings with coworkers, friends and family members that live outside of your immediate household. While group phone calls and video conferences can’t accomplish everything that in-person meetings can, they are a useful tool for fostering connections as we maintain a safe physical distance from one another.

    Virtual gatherings can also help get your mind off of COVID-19. Try finding a group of friends to participate in a common activity, such as a book club or a new fitness routine, and set up regular times to connect via one of the many free video conferencing apps available, like Zoom or WhatsApp. Having reoccurring, light-hearted discussions about a shared activity can help return a sense of normalcy to your day – even if it’s only for a short period of time.

Community power is at the very core of IBA’s mission. As we come together to face the COVID-19 crisis, we are confident that we will emerge stronger and more united than ever. To learn more about how IBA is supporting our community during this time, please read our Q&A on the coronavirus.

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: