COVID-19 RESPONSE

The World Health Organization has classified COVID-19 a global pandemic. We are actively monitoring the rapidly evolving directions of all levels of government and paying special attention to advice from Newfoundland and Labrador’s Public Health officials.  NL is currently classified as having a Public Health State of Emergency and as such, it is important for you to know that the Iris Kirby House & O’Shaughnessy House and Second Stage Shelters are actively operating.

We encourage those experiencing family violence and abuse to reach out – whether you are a victim, friend or family member looking to support someone.

Call our 24-Hour Family Violence Crisis Line:

IKH 1-877-753-1492 / OSH -1888-596-8709  

Our counselors at Iris Kirby House will also respond to email: support@iriskirbyhouse.ca, or text ‘TEXT NOW’: 709-500-6296.

If you are in danger, call 911. 


We know the incidences of family violence and abuse will increase.  We have refocused services and offering additional support to those impacted. We wanted to share with the community some of the preventative measures we are taking at this time.


  • IKH/OSH has been screening admissions to the Shelter since mid March, with screening criteria that is in alignment with provincial requirements (i.e.; assessing for symptoms, travel and contact information with known travellers).
  • Women (& children) are quarantined in self contained units for 14 days before admission into the shelter. If residents are symptomatic while living in the shelter, (ex: flu like symptoms) they are isolated immediately in their room.
  • There are community partnerships with local hotels that have confirmed they are able to actively support IKH/OSH, if there is a need for more self isolation spaces in the future.
  • IKH/OSH Staff are diligently sanitizing to ensure our shelter is cleaned to industry standards with the use of hospital-grade disinfectant.  As well, staff have continued to use and replace Personal Protective Equipment items including masks, gloves and gowns for use when appropriate.
  • IKH/OSH are following physical distancing recommendations. Employees working in both the emergency shelters and second stage shelters are practicing physical distancing and are supporting residents to do the same in all communal living spaces.
  • Meals at the shelter are prepared by a chef, meals are brought to the women and families on disposable dishes.
  • IKH/OSH will not be receiving any Donations during this time. IKH appreciates the community’s generosity but for the time being please hold onto items you wish to donate. We are limiting access for community members to the shelter for the safety of everyone.
  • Our team are engaging in new strategies for online/phone one- on- ones and check in’s with clients.
  •  IKH/OSH are providing cell phones to women who are in abusive relationships and struggling with ways to reach out to get help.
  •  At this time, all Programming (ex: empowerment) are on hold due to protocols put in place surrounding physical distancing to lessen likelihood of spreading COVID-19
  • While we appreciate our Volunteers eagerness to help support our organization, during this time we are currently asking our volunteers to stay home. Our volunteer program is temporarily paused. On behalf of our whole team, we appreciate your understanding and support now more than ever. If you have any questions regarding your current volunteer schedules, please call Programming at 709-722-8272

On behalf of the Board of Directors and the Executive Director, thank you to all Frontline team and Client Support Workers/Supervisors that continue to work the front lines daily. Thank you to our teams that have shifted their roles to working remotely in attempt to create a safer space in shelter but still support our necessary services.


WAYS YOU CAN HELP

In times of increased anxiety and stress, incidents of family violence and abuse can increase. COVID-19 is affecting all of us. If you can help, please consider donating. 

For basic essential items, please see our Facebook page for updated needs for the shelter and our residents. With monetary donations we can purchase items to support our clients as needed and buy in bulk.

Please go to our Donate Now section or contact our Executive Director at 709-722-8272 for ways to make this possible.

Your support will help us keep women, children, and youth safe during this critical time in our community. We are all in this together. 

Thank you for supporting the Iris Kirby House Emergency Shelter & O’Shaughnessy House.