Established to save lives by reducing hospital surge and ensure the safety of Central Vermont’s vulnerable populations and communities.
Washington and Northern Orange Counties – On Monday, March 23, the Washington and Northern Orange Counties Regional Response Command Center (WNOC-RRCC) officially became operational.
WNOC-RRCC is a unique, unified regional collaboration of local community wellness and support services formed to act as the county-level response center to assist in the coordination and action of local efforts to support vulnerable populations during the COVOD-19 pandemic.
WNOC-RRCC is a modular consortium of staff and volunteers from Capstone Community Action, Downstreet Housing & Community Development, The Vermont Department of Health, and involvement from members of THRIVE, the region’s accountable community for health group.
“The novel complexity of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its swiftly moving and far-reaching effects on our people, have left our state systems for vulnerable Vermonters overwhelmed. It is our goal to fill in the gaps. WNOC-RRCC will work to support and enhance the activities and volunteerism that is happening on the local level, guided by the state-level response. We want to facilitate the swift actions that need to happen across the region to support and ensure the safety of those most at risk and impacted during this national emergency,” commented Sue Minter, Executive Director of Capstone Community Action. “When the state reached out to us requesting our assistance with the statewide Homeless Response, we realized the need to act in a new way. That is why we are utilizing the Incident Command Model to ensure our actions are coordinated, efficient, and impactful,” she explained. Minter, along with Eileen Peltier, Executive Director of Downstreet Housing & Community Development, and Joan Marie Misek, Public Health Services District Director of The Vermont Department of Health are the three Unified Commanders of WNOC-RRCC.
The following are highlights of what WNOC-RRCC has been able to achieve thus far:
• Assisted the Good Samaritan Haven, Central Vermont’s only shelter for homeless persons, in successfully implementing COVID-19 health procedures, procure new emergency sites, and transition all services to new locations to support the 70 homeless persons currently receiving support in the region
• Actively supporting and securing necessary resources including PPE, staff, and volunteers to transition units of Goddard College to serve individuals in recovery from COVID-19.
• Utilizing Capstone’s Community Kitchen Academy and in collaboration with the Salvation Army and Enough Ministries of Barre, WNOC-RRCC is now providing 435 meals per day (145 breakfasts, lunches, dinners) to the homeless populations in the four emergency housing sites. This officially began Tuesday of this week.
“Having only officially been operational since Monday, we have accomplished a great deal, and our goal is to become able to take on more in the coming days and weeks” said Eileen Peltier. “Working in partnership as low-income housing, anti-poverty, and public health providers, we can support our hospital by providing County-level support for critical areas of need for our community,” she explained.
WNOC-RRCC is focused on providing non-medical, but essential social services to municipalities, organizations, and individuals in need, including but not limited to providing or securing food, shelter, information, medical supplies, transportation, volunteers, etc. “This collaboration has evolved out of the THRIVE network, an accountable community for health, which recognizes the social determinants of health in our society as critical to community wellness. We are supporting our Central Vermont Medical Center in every way we can,” explained Joan Marie Misek.
WNOC-RRCC is currently requesting volunteers and will be managing an active volunteer list to deploy as community needs arise. WNOC-RRCC is also accepting requests for support; however, please note that due to volume, we may not be able to accommodate all requests at this time. Please direct your inquiries to the appropriate WNOC-RRCC member or resource listed below:
Volunteer related inquires: Allison Levin, Volunteer Coordinator, email@example.com
Personal or organizational assistance inquiries:
A WNOC-RRCC call center is currently being developed and is expected to be announced publicly later this week.
Partnership inquires (organizations, municipalities, and planning entities only): Jaclyn Holden, Deputy Liaison Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Media and communication inquiries: Mike Rama, Public Information and Liaison Officer, email@example.com