Social isolation is on the rise. Here’s how service providers are still building community.
Why It Matters
Social isolation is one of the most severe consequences of public health restrictions intended to curb the spread of COVID-19. Building meaningful community among marginalized service users requires not only addressing persistent social inequities, but also figuring out how to keep them connected.
One of the few social events of Dwayne Flohr’s week happens every Tuesday evening at an alleyway in Vancouver.
The journeyman carpenter turned staff member for the Binners’ Project lines up six feet apart from dozens of fellow binners, workers who pick up waste and discarded bottles throughout Vancouver for cash. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, this Tuesday meeting was a jovial gathering where dozens of binners could talk, give advice, raise concerns, or just socialize together. Today, it is more of an assembly line.
“Everyone’s wearing a mask and everyone’s hurrying in and out to get their money,” Flohr says. Nearly all binners are very low-income. They depend on the job opportunities and community that come out of these Tuesday meetings and the Binners’ Project at l
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