Get to Know Us: Anish Alex, MSW RSW

A community organizer and advocate for his clients, Anish supports adults living with complex health care needs in York Region.

Anish is a Care Coordinator and Case Manager at LOFT’s Crosslinks Housing and Support Services.  This program assists those facing complex mental and physical health challenges and individuals struggling with addiction and/or homelessness. Its holistic approach is based on each client’s need and the best way to facilitate their journey towards an independent and dignified life.

Anish first learned about LOFT when he was studying at Ryerson University’s Internationally Educated Social Workers Bridging Program.  Asked to pick his favourite community organization mission statement, he chose ours. “I picked LOFT’s vision because I strongly believe that there are enough resources in the world to allow us all to co-exist successfully,” he remembers.

With LOFT since 2018, Anish supports clients with complex needs. “I provide comprehensive and intensive care coordination to adults living in our housing program, including mental-health-focused case management, housing support, harm reduction, addiction support, advocacy, and more,” he says.

“Case Managers spend most of their time out in the community rather than in an office,” Anish explains. “My schedule often consists of meeting with clients, and advocating for their rights and needs. People who are experiencing the most vulnerable times in their lives rely on Case Managers to connect them with resources and to find solutions to complex problems.”

Anish has had to adapt while supporting his clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. “It was challenging to implement new protocols and measures to keep everyone safe, but it has become part of our daily lives,” he says. “We have been working in the community — for and with our clients — throughout the pandemic. Our unwavering commitment is what makes us different from many other agencies.”

The pandemic has challenged many of us. “I have two children,” says Anish. “It was difficult to manage their transitions between in-person and online learning. LOFT management was extremely supportive with me and other staff.”

Anish also sees the challenges his clients have faced. “Many of them struggle with loneliness and an endless list of hurdles brought about by the pandemic,” he says. “We help to make their lives a little easier, and our clients are safe in the knowledge that they have a reliable support network around them.”

In his free time Anish enjoys long walks, biking, gardening and listening to podcasts. A community organizer, he is a Founding Member serving on the Board of Samanwaya, an organization of people of Kerala origin living in Canada and North America. They undertake community development activities to enhance the socio-economic and cultural life of the Malayalee community.

As a Canadian whose parents still live in India, the impact of the world-wide pandemic is important to Anish. “We are serving the needs of a diverse population.  We need to be aware of the issues that surround us, and continue to foster cultural sensitivity within our work culture.”