Last Friday, Laura Smith, MPP for Thornhill, met with representatives from Reena Community Centre for a tour of the space. She also had an opportunity to learn more about the impact that a $125,600 Resilient Communities Fund grant, awarded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation in 2021, has had in helping staff with needed technical equipment due to the pandemic.
“Reena, like so many non-profit organizations across Ontario, is a crucial and valued part of the community,” said MPP Smith. “People with diverse abilities and their families rely on Reena’s services every day, and even faced with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, they found a way to deliver. With support through the Resilient Communities Fund, their staff have access to the tools and tech they needed to adapt and to continue helping those who need it most.”
Through its many programs, Reena is an organization supporting close to 1,000 persons with developmental disabilities, the majority of whom are immuno-compromised and considered at risk. When COVID-19 first hit in early 2020, Reena’s entire outreach and respite day programs were forced to close, affecting 500 individuals, visitors were not permitted at a further 40 residential group homes, supporting 439 persons and Reena’s executive, administrative and non-direct care staff at Reena were also mandated to work from home.
As it pivoted to meet strict social distancing demands, the organization realized that its technology infrastructure was insufficient inside its group homes. Thanks to the Resilient Community Fund grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Reena was able to purchase 50 laptops and other needed technical equipment so that staff could work effectively from home. In addition, Reena bought 400 licenses for computer security training programs to enhance data security and protect personal health information.
“We are very grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for investing in Reena,” said Bryan Keshen, CEO of Reena. “This grant provided us with the funds necessary to rebuild and recover from impacts of COVID-19 by ensuring that our employees working from home can fully and safely function as if they were at the office.”