The American Association of Service Coordinators (AASC), in partnership with Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, released a report that explores the experiences of service coordinators and the vulnerable residents in which they serve during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Charged with serving older adults, persons with disabilities, and low-income families, service coordinators assist residents at publicly funded housing properties to achieve financial stability, maintain social connections, and locate long-term community-based supportive services.
“Service coordinators assessed the emerging needs of their residents early in the pandemic. Their role was critical to helping residents understand new safety guidelines, securing food and essential supplies, and helping them cope with isolation and loneliness,” said AASC President and CEO Janice Monks. “AASC members acted as liaisons within their communities to ensure the delivery of food, medicine, supplies, and masks to protect the health and safety of vulnerable populations amid major disruptions to services and supports.”
Key findings include:
- Survey respondents estimated that a large proportion of residents were high risk of the COVID-19 due to age since three-quarters of residents living at the properties surveyed were at least 62 years old. An estimated 36% of residents were members of minority racial or ethnic groups.
- More than half of respondents considered themselves at high-risk of COVID-19 due to age or comorbidity and another 55% are in personal contact with a person of high risk such as a partner or child.
- Technology access was low, with only 38% of residents having both an internet accessible device and internet service.
- At some point during the pandemic, 59% of service coordinators worked exclusively from home; while 38% did not work remotely at all.