It’s been a month now since our local schools sent students home to await the inevitable “stay at home” order from our state government. Like you, we’ve been taking it day-by-day at the OCRCC, doing our best to plan for a future we can’t quite envision while keeping our spirits up amidst the worry, fear, and grief.
There is tremendous unmet need in Orange County, and our current health and economic crisis has both amplified and exposed the gaps between what people deserve and what they can access. This goes both for basic needs like healthcare, food and safety, stable housing, as well as the emotional and psychological needs of trauma survivors. Personally, I grapple with a sense of smallness in the face of this enormity. Then I take a deep breath, lean into our mission, and remember a core truth of working in rape crisis: as a survivor-led movement, we are the embodiment of resilience.
We have a responsibility to stay grounded and committed. While we don’t really know exactly what to plan for, we have identified 4 critical priorities that guide our actions during this pandemic period.
1. Keep Our Promises
We have transitioned all of our client services to virtual models to minimize disruption to our clients. Our 24-Hour Helplines, case management, advocacy, hospital accompaniment, and support groups are all available via free, secure, virtual platforms. Tele-therapy will be available in May for survivors facing significant barriers to accessing trauma-focused mental health care. Our prevention team is hard at work converting their considerable toolkit of workshops, handouts, presentations, and trainings into content that is accessible to people ages 4-adult. While the services may look a little different, we’ve committed to a pivot that maintains the highest standards of excellence and accessibility.
2. Share What We Know
A well-coordinated system of care is critical to both prevention and support for trauma survivors. We’ve created a core team of staff tasked with curating a comprehensive resource page, updated weekly, to help you navigate the evolving availability of services in and around our community.
3. Be There for Our Partners
The OCRCC is not a basic needs rapid response organization, but we work with several organizations that are. We’ve been in constant contact with our key partners, asking, “what do you need to do what you do best?” In addition to helping our clients access the things they need, we’ve allocated up to 5 hours of work time per employee per week to provide direct support to rapid response efforts with our community partners. This may look like helping people who lack personal transportation get food from the food pantry that now does curbside pickup, helping someone with high health risks living in shelter complete a housing search, or assisting a partner organization with translating their materials into Spanish. Visit our Resource Page to learn about the amazing rapid response work happening in our community, and how you can offer support by donating time, talent, funds, or supplies.
4. Prepare for the Long-Haul
Even though we launched into this period at a breakneck pace, we believe that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Our work will be both more difficult and more critical in the “aftermath” of the stay-at-home order. As the social fabric shifts, access to stabilizing routines and hard-won social supports have been impacted, stoking trauma symptoms. As financial instability grows, we anticipate increased client need for direct relief. We’re looking ahead at what we’ll need in the next 12-18 months, making sure that money earned from our supporters can go directly to survivors getting their needs met.
The OCRCC has served this community faithfully for over 45 years. As the current keepers of our mission, our staff and volunteers are focused and committed to keeping our promises — right now and into the future.