“COVID-19 has been scary, but I’ve felt taken care of here,” says Alex, a resident of First United’s women’s shelter since January.

As word spread about the threat of COVID-19 in early March, things in the Downtown Eastside started to change quickly. “I remember the day they had to start the distancing. It’s usually so busy in here and it felt like all of a sudden everyone was gone,” Alex remembers.

“I was really anxious at first. I have anxiety, so the COVID situation just really made that challenging. But when I spoke to the staff, they put me at ease. They gave us all the information we needed: about distancing, not to go out too much unless we really needed to, lots of washing our hands. One thing I love about the staff here, you can ask them any questions and they’re always ready and willing to help.”

“Things are a bit different now,” Alex said. But one thing hasn’t changed: “You don’t feel like a number here,” she said.

“They know my name, we joke around. They don’t brush you off. They treat you like a person. That’s helped me during COVID. Along with my husband and my dog, and my doctors. When I got down, they were there for me. They showed genuine care toward me. And that has helped. I feel hopeful.”

You can find this article in our Summer 2020 Newsletter. Sign up here to stay in touch, so you never miss out on stories from the community.