SSHRC-funded project to study COVID-19 impact on low-income neighbourhoods
October 23, 2020
Congratulations to Dr. Stephanie Baird, Assistant Professor in King’s School of Social Work, and Shawna Lewkowitz, Lecturer of Social Justice and Peace Studies, and a member of the Urban League of London, for receiving a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Engage Grant. The $24,594 grant for Community Crisis and Community Development During and Following COVID-19 is to address the differential impacts of COVID-19 on low-income neighbourhoods in London, while improving long-term community development activities.
Dr. Baird and Lewkowitz are part of a team that includes Dr. Deanna Befus and Dr. Abe Oudshoorn, both Assistant Professors in Western University’s Health Sciences which will be partnering with the Urban League of London and Jennifer Martino from the Crouch Neighbourhood Resource Centre. Lewkowitz, as President of the Urban League of London, will be a community collaborator but will also bring her perspective of community-based Learning from Social Justice and Peace Studies at King’s.
The project came about when the Crouch Neighbourhood Resource Centre reached out to The Centre for Research on Health Equity and Social Inclusion (CRHESI) to help them understand the increase in numbers they were seeing since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project will enhance the partnerships between King’s, Western University and local partners like Crouch and the Urban League of London while serving a community need for research.
Due to the pandemic, the members of the research team were restricted from being in the field. Therefore, they relied heavily on the staff at Crouch to collect surveys and integrate data collection into their programming. The project is currently in the analysis stage of the research.
“We are hoping to build understanding about the realities of poverty hidden in the neighbourhoods of London, to develop an understanding of how COVID-19 impacts people in different ways, and to identify future areas for community development,” says Dr. Baird.
“Local neighbourhoods and resources are vitally important to COVID recovery efforts. The pandemic has highlighted inequities but also demonstrated the importance of community connections, resources, and supports, particularly amidst a crisis. People need to access supports where they are at, and Neighbourhood Resource Centres like Crouch fulfill this important role. This research will help us better understand how to expand on local resiliency efforts to effect community wellbeing,” says Lewkowitz.