Thursday, April 9
Dear New Westminster,
During this difficult time I hope everyone is taking care and staying safe. In response to the crisis the City of New Westminster has focused our efforts towards helping to support the community. A lot of this work is not our normal state of business and we have had to adjust to accommodate the new and diverse needs in the community. I wanted to take an opportunity this week to let residents know about some of the work we have been taking on. This is by no means an exhaustive list or complete, but it does give people a good sense of all of the efforts the City is undertaking.
- Expanded Rent Bank supports, with loans available to those struggling to pay rent
- Electrical utility relief plan targeted at residents and businesses most affected by the crisis
- Food services, including daily bag lunch distribution and a food calendar with daily updates on where to access meal services for vulnerable populations
- Portable toilets with hand sanitizer installed in various neighbourhoods
- Working with provincial partners to identify possible locations for temporary shelters
- Our Friendly Caller program is up and running, with staff and volunteers making phone calls to community members age 60+ and those with disabilities
- Take-away lunch services for purchase at Century House, Mon - Fri, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm (closed Good Friday, April 10) – for ages 50+
- Developed a Support Local campaign to encourage residents to continue supporting New West businesses
- Planning for post-pandemic business re-entry
- Phone and email set up for community members to report compliance issues and concerns
- City staff provide proactive, positive education in parks and other public spaces, reminding residents of physical distancing
- Working with provincial and education partners to identify available childcare spaces in New West for essential workers
I hope members of the community can appreciate all of the hard work that City staff are putting into responding to these actions to help the community while still deliver essential services. It has been a stressful time at the city and I hope we can all give a big thank you to the dedicated team here who care deeply about their community and are working hard to serve. As this crisis continues we know more and more residents are going to struggle and we are going to our best as a local government to help support a community in need.