Fostering a Sense of Community During COVID-19

April 15, 2020 | By: Greg Coxey

By: Greg Coxey

Given this unprecedented time in the history of the world, there is a lot of anxiety and uncertainty about what the future holds. Even though this is a global pandemic, with orders to stay-in-place and stay healthy, the focus shifts to our household and our communities. While practicing social distancing, we must think beyond ourselves and consider all of the members of our community association.

Boards of Directors owe fiduciary obligations of loyalty and care to their association. Given these duties, there are some things that associations can do to make sure that their members are taken care of. Boards of Directors have the authority to create committees and appoint members to those committees. The committees are created by a committee charter that outlines the specific purposes and tasks of the committee.

With this authority, Boards can create a specific COVID-19 Committee and appoint members with specific tasks to assess the needs of the owners in the association and to provide assistance to the members of the association that are the most vulnerable. In today’s society with all of the technological advances, meeting as a committee to assess needs, and reaching out to members of the association who may require assistance can be done over the phone via a conference call or over a video conference. This way if there are members of the community that need grocery items or have other needs, the committee can facilitate how best to accomplish that task. Social distancing can still be maintained by dropping off items on doorsteps.

Boards can also create Social Committees, if the association does not already have one, to organize community events that can be done online or over a conference call. For example, the Social Committee could organize a book club or a movie/tv series club where discussions take place on a call or chat room, or another online forum. The committee members can be creative in organizing activities while staying at home.

Because the future is uncertain and we are being asked to limit social interaction, this can be a scary time and a very lonely time for many people. Anxiety can cause us to act in selfish ways as we feel the need to protect ourselves, sometimes at the expense of others. If we take a step back and look for ways that we can help our neighbors and foster a sense of community, we will weather the storm much better together.

At VF, we are committed to continuing to assist in all the needs of community associations. If your association would like help drafting committee charters, do not hesitate to reach out to any of our lawyers.