Responding to COVID-19

Anika Barlow

Update 24 April 2020


Your help is needed.

People seeking refugee protection are already vulnerable, and the COVID-19 pandemic exposes their vulnerability even more.  Even as you cope with the pandemic, your support of those who are forcibly displaced and seeking protection eases their vulnerability and bolsters their resilience, decreasing risk.

Your financial gift offers critical shelter and support during the pandemic.  Make your gift here.

During the pandemic, adult bikes (women’s and men’s) are much needed for independent travel and exercise.  Locks and helmets are also needed.

Contact Loren to arrange for pick-up or drop-off.  A process to sterilize items is in place.


COVID-19 and Kinbrace programs

The Kinbrace community is adapting and responding proactively to the COVID-19 threat.  While maintaining a spirit of welcome and belonging,  we are physically distancing from one another in the community and staff are running programs remotely to protect one another from COVID-19.

Community (transitional housing community in east Vancouver)

  • Host Community members are attending to relationships with residents and neighbours, contact Anika 
  • Residents and Host Community members (“community members”) are considered “a family” and are not required to stay in their apartments.  They form their own “bubble.”
  • Community members are strongly advised, per federal and provincial orders, to
    • wash hands regularly
    • not touch the face
    • practice physical distancing (2 metres) even while in the residential community
    • not go to public places (stores) unless absolutely necessary
    • not visit other off-site households or friends in their homes
  • Community members will
    • not invite or host visitors on the Kinbrace properties or in apartments
    • receive any groceries and other supplies from friends, staff and family outside the building in the back yard
    • refrain from sharing food between apartments
    • refrain from visiting in each other’s apartments
  • Community members are encouraged to
    • spend time outside in the yards when you can
    • walk around the neighbourhood as much as you can, get exercise safely, minding the 2 metre distance between strangers
    • wash hands and disinfect when returning to the community
  • Attention will be given to residents at higher risk:
    • People over 60 years of age with compromised immune systems. The risk increases significantly thereafter and escalates with age, with persons over age 80 in the highest risk category.
    • People, regardless of age, with underlying health conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or chronic lung diseases like COPD, as well as those with severely weakened immune systems.
  • High-touch areas (door knobs, rails, light switches, 2nd floor bath and toilet rooms) throughout the buildings are sanitized twice-daily with bleach solution
  • Any residents feeling flu-like symptoms will immediately self-isolate in their apartment and communicate by phone with their designated Host Community member
  • Any residents exposed to people with symptoms of fever or cough, will self-isolate 14 days
  • In the event of a diagnosed case of infection within the community with COVID-19, the person will
    • immediately self-isolate in a bedroom in their apartment until safe to leave
    • communicate exclusively by phone with their designated Host Community member
    • be cared for with food and necessities by a designated staff or Host Community member who will act as the liaison to the rest of the community and to healthcare officials as needed
  • Protocol is being developed should a resident of Units 2-5 be diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Tuesday Dinners are suspended indefinitely
  • The community room (K2) is currently closed, though available as needed
  • Volunteers (language tutors, Tuesday Dinner people, others) are encouraged to continue relationships via zoom, whatsapp, phone or other online methods

Neighbours, Guests, Family, Deliveries

  • Neighbours, guests, and family are requested to
    • talk “through the fence” if communicating with community members (phone or email is preferred)
    • drop off food or other items by appointment
  • Residents will wash hands thoroughly after contact with any items from visitors
  • The trampoline is only for current residents of the community – children from outside the community may not use the trampoline
  • Regular donations of clothing and housewares from the public will not be accepted at this time
  • Food delivery will be dropped at the front fo K1 by appointment


  • The Housing Coordinator is working remotely, contact Ryan 
  • Transitional housing continues in east Vancouver
    • There are no vacancies
    • Protocol is being developed for welcoming new arrivals when suites become vacant (e.g. 14-day quarantine)
  • Permanent housing
    • Protocol is being developed to move transitional residents to permanent housing


  • The Integration Coordinator is working remotely, contact Adriana 
  • Current and former residents are supported by phone or online

Accessing Refugee Protection

  • The READY Tour Coordinator is working remotely, contact Fran 
  • READY Tours are suspended indefinitely across the country
    • participants already registered for a READY Tour will contacted by regional coordinators
    • directives are received from the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
  • Refugee claimants and service providers can continue to register for READY Tours and access the Refugee Hearing Preparation Guide at


  • The office is closed indefinitely
    • Phone messages are retrieved regularly from 604-255-9691 
    • Admin staff are working remotely, contact Ebey 



Critical Updates regarding protocol changes for IRCC, IRB, CBSA and other

BC Housing COVID-19 Fact Sheet for Housing and Service Providers

BC Centre for Disease Control – COVID-19

Vancouver Coastal Health – Information on COVID-19

The World Health Organization identifies the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as a new strain discovered in 2019 that has not been previously identified in humans.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 

Kinbrace is implementing the standard recommendations to prevent infection spread including:

  • sheltering in place
  • regular hand washing
  • physically distancing from one another (2 metres)
  • covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing
  • self-isolating if experiencing symptoms