A Housing First Approach
When you think of home, what comes to mind? For many, the answer is likely physical – the people, items, and spaces that make up the places we spend our time.
At Connective, we believe that home is all these things, but so much more. Home is certainty; it is safety, and security. Home offers sanctuary from the challenges of the day, and the stresses of the world. It is a place – your place – where you can be you.
It is no surprise then, that housing plays a crucial role in what we do, with Housing First principles at the core of our approach. Stable, appropriate housing is a critical step in avoiding crisis, and a springboard for accessing additional supports, overcoming barriers, and pursuing personal independence.
Foregrounding Housing First principles in our approach means supporting people to secure immediate and low-barrier access to housing that meets their unique needs, and providing the community-based supports necessary to maintain that housing long-term.
Only through a Housing First approach and widespread access to adequate housing will we achieve our vision of safe, healthy, and inclusive communities for all.
The Canadian Housing Crisis
Despite the crucial role that housing plays in the strength of our communities, the reality is that for many people across the country, safe, stable, and appropriate housing is far from certain.
Instead, Canada finds itself in the grips of a housing crisis. This crisis has touched those in all walks of life, but disproportionally affected individuals and families at the crossroads of multiple, complex social issues, such as those who:
- Are underemployed or unemployed
- Are experiencing problematic substance use challenges
- Have developmental disabilities or criminal justice experience
It is for all these reasons that now, more than ever, Connective’s work in this area is so important. With this in mind, we were so pleased last week to announce that we have been selected, through a competitive process by BC Housing, as the operators of a new 50-bed supportive housing development in Prince George.
A New Opportunity in Prince George
Temporarily known as First Avenue Supportive Housing, this exciting expansion of services in the Prince George community will provide housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and will begin welcoming residents this spring.
Over the last three years in Prince George, staff have brought Connective’s long history of person-centered, housing-first care to the community, building a solid foundation that set the stage for this new partnership with BC Housing.
Danielle Goodwin, our Community Services Manager in Prince George, knows first-hand how important housing has been to the success of ACES employment program participants these last three years.
"Without housing, everything else is so difficult."
“When people have a place to live, they can concentrate on work rather than worrying where they are going to sleep that night,” Danielle explained.
The ACES program – though primarily designed to assist service users facing barriers to employment – also takes a Housing First approach, recognizing the impact that stable housing has on an individual’s ability to obtain and maintain meaningful employment. Danielle and the Prince George team help people apply for rental subsidies and work closely with community partners to house and put service users on the path to success.
This new program in Prince George is a big stride forward for our ability to meet the needs of those experiencing homelessness and other barriers. At this new supportive housing development, residents will receive onsite 24/7 support from trained Tenant Support Workers, who will assist residents with solution-focused services to meet their self-identified needs and goals. Residents will also have access to an onsite Indigenous Liaison Worker who will guide the provision of culturally safe services and connection to cultural supports, and an onsite Outreach Worker to assist residents with community connections and resources. The goal of this new program will be to provide housing along with the necessary and connections to services that will enable residents to maintain long-term housing.
With the expansion of our services, we look forward to the opportunity to work with more community members and provide the wraparound that we so wholeheartedly believe in.