While life has been everything but normal over the past few months, those living in Avenue Living Communities' (ALC) neighbourhoods navigate daily life amidst the pandemic, as it seems, together.
"It's all about duty of care – we are in this together no matter what. Through the thick and thin, through the tough times, we will get through this," says Rhonda Bradley, a Residential Portfolio Manager for ALC in Camrose, Alta.
"We have come this far – it's been a tough two and a half months but we're still here with our heads held high."
For Bradley, there have been difficulties in adjustment within a smaller community like Camrose, as levels of fear vary due to the smaller population. Despite the uncertainty, she says it's still important as ever to stay safe and remain connected as the property management business is always on, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
"Our 500 plus residents rely on us for many reasons – to have a safe, quality, and affordable home – and that's essential. The pandemic has really played a huge factor in our daily routines – what we're used to doing is no longer the same."
In Camrose, specifically, communication between ALC and its residents is usually face-to-face, on a deep personal level that is expected in smaller communities. Bradley urges residents to remain in contact by digital, virtual means like phone or email if they need absolutely anything, as some residents have already been doing so.
"We have a resident that's been with us for four or five years – she is elderly – the distancing due to COVID-19 has really affected her because we don't get to visit her like we used to," says Bradley. "Now, she calls us once a week to let us know she's good, and to make sure we're good – she knows that she can call and we're right there if she needs anything. She knows she can rely on us."
"While interactions with residents has really been hindered, nothing has changed on our end in terms of the essential services we provide," says Bradley. "Some residents may be hesitant to reach out, but we're still here, and we're being safe."
This community, family-oriented feel extends from the ALC Camrose team to residents as some are very happy to not only find a home with ALC, but a family. While other businesses throughout Camrose show their togetherness through donations and community support, especially during these uncertain times.
According to Bradley, the Camrose Co-Op drops off boxes of baked goods weekly in the foyer of several ALC buildings to give back to the community, while ALC have been building their own giving initiatives, under the Avenue Giving banner, to provide support in their communities.
In addition to ALC's nationwide $100,000 donation to local community food banks, Bradley and her team were proactive throughout the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and acquired essential supplies to ensure residents had what they needed.
"As soon as you heard on the news that people are going crazy trying to buy toilet paper, my initial instinct was "oh my goodness, we need to get this." – As soon as I got toilet paper in, signs went up in our properties immediately, reminding residents if they need toilet paper to please contact us.
"As soon as those letters went out, the phones were ringing – "oh you have toilet paper, oh my goodness, thank you – I am just about out and I can't get to the store to get more.""
Now with excess stock of the much sought-after essential item, Bradley and her team used the opportunity to donate the item to the local Camrose food bank, Neighbor Aid – Camrose.
"We know that the food banks are struggling to get supplies as well – we have a lot of people in Camrose who rely on the food bank," says Bradley. "The look on their faces where priceless when we showed up with 250 rolls of toilet paper – we let them know, if you need more, let us know.
"This was just another opportunity to give back to the community."