The North Okanagan Friendship Centre’s doors may be closed for the foreseeable future, but its staff are doing what they can to help.
The federal government announced a $305-million Indigenous Community Support Fund, $15 million of which would be made available to urban organization through an upcoming call for proposals, the society said, but there’s no guarantee of funding and no amount has been set aside specifically for Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations across Canada.
“With the health, safety and well-being of our community members top of our minds, we think it’s important to be clear about the recent federal government supports announced,” the society said in a statement.
“Friendship Centres do not yet have COVID-19 response funds.”
A proposal is in the works by the National Association of Friendship Centres advocating for all centres in Canada, including the North Okanagan Friendship Centre in Vernon.
In the meantime, the society continues its work through phone, fax, text messaging and video conferencing to maintain contact with its clients, staff and board.
The areas of operation include prenatal and nutrition outreach, early childhood development outreach, Vernon youth safe house outreach, mental health and addictions outreach, family support services and First Nations employment services and Kekuli Centre Apartments for youth at risk.
“These are unprecedented times and following safe practices are necessary and mandatory to have a healthy staff who can continue to serve the most vulnerable people in the community,” NOFCS said.