March 28, 2020
PRAIRIE RELIEF TEAM LAUNCHED BY AVENUE LIVING TO HELP RESIDENTS
Avenue Living Communities has launched the Prairie Relief Team to respond to the needs of residents across its Western Canadian portfolio in a timely fashion, amid the growing concerns of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Lloyd McDonald, the company's Vice-President of Business Development, said Avenue Living is standing up their Duty of Care to its more than 20,000 residents.
"As a result of everything's that's going on, there are a lot of people who have either been recently laid off, or they're fearful that their income is going to be disrupted, and they're not sure how they're going to meet their bills, let alone the basics – food, shelter and clothing," said McDonald.
"So, we formed the Prairie Relief Team to respond to those individuals when they reach out to us, to let them know what their options are. Firstly, we want to give them a point of contact and friendly voice to reach out to in these uncertain times. We empathise with them. We want to be part of a solution as well, so we are able to respond to their questions, provide them with options, and give them some comfort in knowing that we are here for them," added McDonald.
The Prairie Relief Team is also providing links to Provincial and Federal programs notifying residents of Government relief that could help them.
"We're offering a type of first response. What we're finding with a lot of the calls and emails coming in is that people can be in a heightened emotional state. Sometimes they just want to reach out to somebody and say 'I'm scared. I don't know if I'm can pay my bills. What am I going to do?'" said McDonald.
"We're trying to be a calming influence, if you will, for those individuals, and to be a source of information. At the end of the day, we understand that we can't provide food and clothing for people, but we do have shelter. We're just trying to work through different options and scenarios for them while making sure they are safe and comfortable and not displaced. We can discuss with them the options that Avenue Living has been proactive in putting forward, including weekly payment terms and remote payment options," said McDonald.
Avenue Living has around 10,000 suites in 19 markets across the Prairie provinces. McDonald said he has been given the task of reaching out to all residents who previously indicated they might be leaving their homes in April. He's proactively calling all those individuals to see if they are moving to safe and comfortable accommodations.
McDonald said he recently received an email from a female resident: "She concluded by saying, 'thanks for checking up on us. I really appreciated it. You called during a really stressful time and alleviated stress.' I think with Albertans and people in Western Canada, the fear of uncertainty is causing a lot of anxiety for everyone."
"We're reaching out to people. We're trying to let them know what their options are, so they can make calm, rational decisions for themselves," added McDonald.