GOAL OF THE PROGRAM:
To ensure that people who are at risk of becoming homeless can stabilize their circumstances to reduce housing loss and move beyond emergency needs.
Once in stable housing, other supports can be introduced as required to improve health, parenting, education, and employment outcomes. As a result, the program services fosters the creation of longer term solutions, especially supports and tools that help develop stable living arrangements, as well as facilitate permanent arrangements.
Services are open to all people in community at three days per week to:
- Assistance with housing retention through advocacy, accessing and collaborating community supports to help those at imminent risk of homelessness to remain housed.
- Bridging to existing employment programs or removing barriers to employment of skill enrichment to facilitate labour market readiness
- Networking one to one and on community committees to improve referral processes and streamline services for individuals, children and families who are most at risk of becoming homeless.
- Grief and loss support group, budgeting workshops and ongoing individual financial planning and management
- Networking and liaison with the local health authority, mental health and addiction services, food bank, employment agencies, governmental organizations, other community support services.
How are we fulfilling the need:
In year 2014, this program has served 3000 clients, before reaching the current fiscal year end timeline. The services of this program provide a significant bridging for clients to retain housing and intervention to prevent housing loss. This service is maximized through the collaborative efforts of other non-profit society’s efforts and faith based services to reach the capacity of intervention for children and families. The established networking of the program with other existing services reflects the effectiveness of true collaboration to secure outcomes for our most vulnerable community members. This approach creates a shared responsibility in providing supports and solutions for clients who are at risk of becoming homeless. Without this service of a full time position, one can see the service gap that would have existed for 3000 community members.
The year 2015-2018 permitted White Buffalo in being awarded funding capacity to facilitate a part time position to meet the needs of housing loss prevention. The needs continue to grow each year. It is our intent to continue to seek funding capacity to bring the coordinators position to fulltime again to meet the needs of community demands for housing loss prevention.
We also recognize that preventing housing loss is one step in the solution, the other being the prevention of reoccurring risk. This is done through education, planning, and engaging the community member in understanding how the risk developed initially and then developing a shared prevention plan. This has been and continues to be a key factor in accessing community resources, skill development education, and collaboration with and for clients.
We have been afforded an addition of a one day a week Trauma Mental Health Clinician within this program to support the needs of community members who face multiple barriers and traumas when experiencing housing loss, homelessness and the array of historical and current stresses and trauma impacts when at and in risk.
Our services also include onetime access to financial emergency funding related securing housing. Once housing is secured follow up by the coordinator is critical to provide education, support and linkages, and continued networking to ensure healthy community solutions for those most at risk of homelessness.
Our Coordinator also focuses on other existing barriers such as community members who wish to participate in the workforce, however face obstacles to accepting employment opportunities. These can include: obtaining work boots and safety gear, bus passes, or small certificate training necessary to maintain or obtain an employment opportunity. All sources of funding, solutions and options are explored until exhausted before the program utilizes the emergency funding to ensure that the onetime emergency funding is utilized for the best intervention opportunity and leveraged in partnership with community agencies and organizations.
This three day a week program is made possible through a collaboration between The Home Free Collective Community Entity (City of Kamloops,) Service Canada and Kamloops Cariboo United Way
COMMUNITY WORKSHOPS (HOWEVER NOT LIMITED TO):
- Grief and Loss Support Group for Clients or Professionals
- Employment Skills Workshops
- Sexual Health Workshops
- Landlord Tenancy Rights and Responsibilities
- Money Management
- Budget Wise Food Planning