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Odyssey House adapting to positive COVID-19 case

Officials with Odyssey House in Grande Prairie say the plans put in place at the onset of the COVID-10 pandemic have left them able to continue services as normal as possible after a positive case of the virus was confirmed at the shelter.

Executive Director Lisa Watson says all front line staff has been diligently working towards creating an environment that allows them to change on the fly.

“We’ve been adapting our services to meet physical distancing, disinfecting, and isolation requirements from our public health officials, so we can continue to meet the safety needs of those who rely on our services. We’ve adapted our programming so we did not have to discontinue any service at this time so that we can provide remotely.”

Watson says they’ve been able to work with sister shelters and local hotels to help house some residents. She adds video conferencing is also helping out greatly in keeping the lines of communication open.

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Watson adds their shelters are more than a bed, as around 500 people per month are helped through the 24-hour crisis line but have never stepped foot inside the physical building. She adds that the line is often a vital first step for anyone who needs the support.

“We’re trained to help women assess their danger levels, improve safety plans… we are ready and we will work to support the person to make sure they’re safe, and you can do that over the phone.”

In addition to a 42-bed short-term emergency shelter, Odyssey House also operates a 25-unit apartment for women, with or without children, in need of safe, affordable housing and specialized programming.

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