Can We Create More Equitable And Just Communities After the COVID Crisis?

“You plant the seed, you may not see the bloom, but you helped plant that seed for their future.” – Laverne

Laverne has been an essential part of Quint since it was created. She is a founding board member of Quint, and one of the reasons the organization has the pulse and impact it does today.

As a lifelong resident of Pleasant Hill and many years of community organizing in the core neighbourhoods,  Laverne’s leadership was an instrumental part of the vision that led to the formation of Quint. As a member of the founding Board, Laverne helped ensure that the foundation of Quint was solid with a clear strategic plan and policies that have shaped the organization as it developed in the early years.

Vulnerable people in low income and marginalized communities are at greater risk from and are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This unprecedented crisis is highlighting the need to address structural inequities in our communities in order to flatten the curve and ensure that our health care system is not overwhelmed.

The connections between social and economic justice and the health and safety of our entire community are clearly tied together.

  • Shelters (for homeless people and for women fleeing violence) are not adequately funded do not have adequate infrastructure for physical distancing. Residents (and staff), many of them women and, Indigenous are at extreme risk. It is difficult to follow public health guidelines like isolating at home when you are homeless or live in unsuitable or overcrowded housing.
  • There is a growing awareness that many people working in low paying insecure jobs with no benefits provide essential services and they do not have the privilege of staying at home during the pandemic. These include workers in grocery stores, long-term care homes, health care facilities and food processing plants to name a few. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit has demonstrated that a lot of people were not making enough money to meet their basic needs and that society has a profound interest in lower-income people having the purchasing power to buy food and pay their rent. The call for implementing guaranteed annual income are growing in Canada and many other countries.
  • Overcrowded jails (with a large number Indigenous people suffering from intergenerational trauma) are potential COVID-19 hotspots. Many inmates are being released to address the spread of the virus in correctional facilities and communities are struggling to find appropriate housing and support for them. This raises to the bigger question of why we continue to incarcerate so many people to begin with.

There are many questions to consider

How we can create more equitable and just communities when looking ahead to a post-COVID world? How do we ensure that we can provide innovative housing that is accessible to everyone? How do we create sustainable economies that meet the needs of our communities and the environment while also reducing wealth and income disparity? How do we ensure that everyone receives a living wage? Can we create opportunities and jobs for people as alternative to continually building more jails?  

Since its inception in 1995, Quint has been using a community economic development approach to address the concentration of poverty and underdevelopment in the core neighbourhoods. Quint has been creating innovative social economies that provide a roadmap to a healthier, more resilient and sustainable economy. Our focus has been on community identified priorities of housing, employment and training and these happen to be some of the socioeconomic determinants of health that are playing out during the COVID crisis.

We need to reimagine what our community should and can be after this unprecedented global crisis.

Winston Churchill once said, “Never waste a good crisis”. In challenging times one must question the accepted reality and solutions may well be found outside the usual compass.

As the organization continued to grow, Laverne’s position evolved into the  Director of Operations but she continued to oversee and guide the affordable housing program. She is also one of our main social function organizers ensuring that we maintain a strong and cohesive staff team/family, something that she prides herself on. She has worked hard to make sure staff feel included, heard and part of the decision making process within the organization.

Laverne also played a large role in organizing Quint’s community events, what she calls “the fun work”. This included launching and planning the annual Our Core Communities Shine events, numerous community BBQ’s, and anniversary celebrations.

Laverne’s impact is throughout all aspects of Quint’s programming and practices. Her legacy will be that of dedication, compassion, and perseverance, always fighting for the good of her community and the people in it. On behalf of the Quint staff, board of directors and the community at large, Laverne we are so thankful for your leadership and vision to bring Quint to reality. Your contributions will continue to transcend the 26 years you have committed to our west side core communities and beyond.

Happy Retirement!