Covid Tenants

I spent the afternoon yesterday cleaning a tenant’s apartment, as he lay on his couch coming down from a two week long encounter of the worst kind, with very powerful substances. He had shared with me his concerns for his own mortality, but he felt his loneliness and isolation during this pandemic were overwhelming and he felt lost. He appointed me the guardian of his only friend, a four legged canine, in case of emergency. The cleaning yesterday gave me an opportunity, albeit masked and gloved, to straighten up, to talk and to listen. His apartment would have tried the patience of the most able cleaner, but sometimes when we support our tenants, it is in a way that is both respectful and ‘equalizing’. Counseling is rarely done behind a desk, but in sharing a task outside, or some take out on one of the picnic tables, or by cleaning on occasion. SHOW staff understand that maintaining housing for many of our tenants is really a day by day event. Each new day a tenant wakes up in the same apartment, knowing that all of it is his, to own a mailbox key attached to his own address is life changing, but it can also be terrifying as he waits for the other shoe to drop. Tenants who have little experience managing life’s responsibilities are often afraid to express their lack of domesticity, we work hard to build skills, confidence and community. The pandemic has helped us identify gaps for our tenants, ensuring everyone is not only computer connected but also has a more human support system in place. Our wonderful collaboration with Downtown Kitchener Community Health Center has given us not only a doctor weekly, but also a very skilled social worker who provides trauma based counseling to any tenants who need it. Covid has already taken too many, we at SHOW will do our utmost to ensure the resulting isolation doesn’t create lethal loneliness. Tomorrow will be much better for our lonely tenant, as he has confirmed for himself that he can count on SHOW. Thank you for helping us.