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Announcing a New Program in Dawson Creek

Offering safe, secure housing and wraparound supports to 32 adults at risk of or experiencing homelessness

Connective is proud to announce a new (to us) program in Dawson Creek, British Columbia – our first in the community.

Late last year, we were selected by BC Housing to assume operation of My Home Place, a supportive housing program. Since May 2021, this program has been offering 32 adults who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness a permanent home and access to 24/7 support services, such as meal programs, life and employment skills training, and health and wellness resources. As with Connective’s other supportive housing programs, here, staff work with residents to help them overcome barriers and achieve their self-identified goals. 


We worked closely with the program’s previous operatorthe South Peace Community Resources Society (SPCRS), to transition the program and took full operation in late 2023. We look forward to continuing to work alongside SPCRS in the community and to building on the strong foundations they have established at My Home Place. On the ground in Dawson Creek, we were excited to welcome a number of new staff to our Connective team.


For the last several years we have been proud to operate a growing number of programs in Northern BC – we are grateful for this latest opportunity, and for the chance to leverage our expertise in service to Dawson Creek, while continuing to provide this essential service in the community.

An Interview with our Program Manager

To help get to know our new program in Dawson Creek we sat down with its Program Manager, to ask a few questions.


What impact do you witness this program having on residents?

My Home Place has proven to have a profoundly positive impact on the residents by offering stability, security, and support to them. Initially, some residents encountered challenges during the first few months of moving in, struggling to adjust to their new homes. By the third month of moving in, I saw significant positive transformation as they stabilized and settle into their homes, and into the supportive environment. Many of our residents, who previously struggled to maintain their housing in the community, have since lived here for a year, two years, and even longer.


What does a typical day at the program look like?

The structure of a typical day at My Home Place is generally flexible, catering to the individual needs of residents who plan their schedules. Residents have the autonomy to reach out to staff for support and assistance with various requests. On-site support and in-person services are readily available, with occasional community agency partnerships for educational sessions and training. Two nutritious meals (lunch and supper) are provided, and assistance is offered for scheduling appointments, medication reminders, job searches, skill development, and referrals to external agencies. As part of building community engagement, residents are encouraged to participate in group activities, recreational events, and creative pursuits like arts and crafts. The daily presence of the Intensive Case Management Team (ICMT) ensures regular mental health check-ins and support for their clients who live at My home Place. With 24-hour staffing support, the focus remains on providing holistic support to promote stability and well-being.

“My Home Place aims to create an environment where residents feel empowered and supported in their journey towards independence and improved quality of life.”

– Program Manager, My Home Place

What is your favourite part of working with the program?

My favorite part of working at My Home Place is the fulfilment that I have knowing that I am making a positive impact and difference in the lives of our residents that we support and helping them achieve stability. In the almost 3 years that I have worked at My Home Place, I have developed meaningful connections with the residents, and I have witnessed their progress and positive transformation over time, and this has been rewarding. Building a sense of community and trust is also an important part of the work. Most importantly, the staff team at My Home Place have been a great source of encouragement and support to the program, as we all share a commitment to helping our residents and have created a supportive and fulfilling work environment. I believe that the teamwork we have built over the years has been a key factor in the success of the program.

We’re excited to see My Home Place continue to develop over the years to come, and to better get to know the community in Dawson Creek!

New Opportunities in Surrey and Vancouver

We’re honoured to announce that we're been selected to operate two new supportive housing developments that will welcome tenants in Summer 2022

Today we’re excited to share some information on two recent housing-related announcements!


In Surrey, we have been selected through a competitive process by BC Housing to operate a new 26-unit supportive housing development. This development will support those in the North Surrey community who are or are at-risk of experiencing homelessness, and will offer 24/7 support to residents. Supports that will be available include:


  •  Individual and/or group support services such as life skills, community information, and social and recreational programs
  • Assistance connecting with community supports and services such as education, employment, health, life skills, and independent housing (where applicable)
  • Assistance obtaining Income Assistance, Pension Benefits, Disability Benefits, a BC Identification Card, or establishing a bank account
  • Access to two meals per day
  • A full-time Outreach worker to accompany residents in the community and assist them to make connections
  • A full-time Indigenous Liaison Worker, who will work directly with Indigenous residents to ensure the provision of culturally appropriate supports


It is an honour to have been selected to operate this development, and to help respond to immediate needs in the community, particularly those who have depended on emergency response supports during the pandemic.


In Vancouver, we were excited to introduce what is temporarily known as Kingsway Supportive Housing. With the support of BC Housing and partnership with the City of Vancouver, we will be introducing the first residents to this new 65-unit supportive housing development in the coming months. Like in Surrey, this project will meet the needs of those who are experiencing or are at-risk of homelessness. It will include significant tenant representation from Indigenous and female identifying populations. Kingsway Supportive Housing will offer many of the same wrap-around supports that will play such a big role in our new Surrey project.

Together with our announcement in Prince George from earlier this year, these latest projects speak to the crucial need for accessible housing during the ongoing housing crisis, and to Connective’s commitment and successful track record in this service sector.


Through our long history with housing service provision and the application of housing first principles across our programs, we have built a strong reputation for our work in this area. While we celebrate the announcement of these two new projects in Surrey and Vancouver, we invite you to take a walk down memory lane with us and explore the evolution of housing across our organization’s long history.

Our Housing Programs Through the Years

Our roots in the housing sector date back almost 90 years now, and it’s part of our organization that we continue to be incredibly proud of and inspired by.


One of our longest standing programs is Hobden House, a community-based residential facility in Surrey, which opened its doors in 1984. It was our very first halfway house and signified a milestone for our team as one of our first residential programs.


Since our early days at Hobden House, we’ve continued to build on our housing continuum to support more people experiencing complex barriers in more communities across BC and the Yukon. Our interest in leading non-profit housing efforts is guided by the foundational principle that housing is a human right, and that when every person is both housed and supported, it benefits our entire community.


Join us as we explore the evolution of our housing programs over the years, and just a few of the ones that lead us to where we are today:


1996: Guy Richmond Place opened, though at the time as a provincial electronic monitoring halfway house located in Surrey and contracted by the provincial government. It was moved to Vancouver just one year later and became the Community Residential Facility (CRF) we know it to be today in 1999, when its contract transferred from the provincial government to CSC.


1997: Three new housing programs were established, including South Surrey Residence (SSR), Stephen Kruger House (SKH), and an Electronic Monitoring Program in Burnaby. SSR was a licensed care facility for persons on conditional discharge from the forensic psychiatric hospital, and those with acquired brain injuries. SKH was delivered in association with Simon Fraser University to assist persons with Dual-Diagnosis.


1998: We began working with the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) to provide outreach and live-in support services to persons with Developmental Disabilities. This was back when MCFD provided supports to adults with developmental disabilities. In 2005, support for adults with disabilities transferred from MCFD to Community Living BC (CLBC), with these first contracts forming the basis of what today is our Community Living Services programming.


2001: Vancouver Apartments was puchased! VA is our longest standing Community Living Residential program, providing 24/7 residential support to women and men with developmental disabilities.


2003: Miller Block welcomed its first tenants in December 2005, providing safe, affordable housing with added outreach supports. Miller Block continues to operate as a low-barrier affordable housing option with 16-18 hours of support per day.

Exterior of our Miller Block program


2005: We took on our first Home Share contract, known at the time as the Independent Care Network (ICN).


2007: Tims Manor opened, providing affordable housing in the community of Abbotsford. Over the years our Tims Manor program has evolved to meet the needs of the community, today supporting up to 18 residents as a community-based residential facility.


2008: The Homelessness Partnership Initiative was introduced to provide a social safety net for people transitioning from provincial prisons to the community.


2012: East 3rd was developed in response to the needs of a neurodiverse individual that was on a supervision order and required 24hr on-site staffing. A year later, the program expanded to serve another individual living with a developmental disability that also required around-the-clock personalized support.


2013: Elliot House opened December 2013 in Abbotsford, now our largest community-based residential facility supporting up to 30 residents as they transition to the community from provincial or federal incarceration.


2015: We assumed operations of Willow Place, a harm-reduction, trauma-informed housing program for women with FASD experiencing addiction and other complex challenges. We also began delivering Bridge to Housing, a homelessness prevention program supporting people transitioning from provincial incarceration in need of safe, secure housing.


2019: Miyáqˈelhá:wetawt opened, providing Indigenous culturally-focused community-based residential support delivered out of Tims Manor in partnership with Elders in the community. Charland Residential first opened in January 2019, providing safe and secure housing within the community to individuals with criminal justice involvement and mental health needs, who are under the care of CLBC.


The cultural space at Miyáqˈelhá:wetawt


2020: Several housing and homelessness prevention programs began:

  •  We began operating our first housing program in the Yukon, the Supervised Housing and Reintegration Program (SHARP).
  • Community Support Initiatives (initially referred to as the “Bail Project”) provides housing subsidies and personalized support services to folks transitioning from prison to the community who may be at risk of homelessness.
  • We opened Kensington House, which provides temporary housing to refugee claimants and foreign nationals with precarious status in Canada.
  • Dogwood, a Community Living Services Residential program supporting individuals transitioning from hospital settings, opened in December.
  • Pop Up Housing Programs are delivered to provide structured residential supervision and support to isolating individuals reintegrating into the community from federal correctional institutions at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.


2021: This year was another big one for housing:

  • Charland Residential welcomed a second staffed residential program in the downstairs part of the home, starting January 1st
  • In April we assumed operations of the Housing First Residence in Whitehorse, Yukon in partnership with the Council of Yukon First Nations.
  • We began delivering a suite of personalized housing programs through the Samara Program, and our first resident moved in on July 14th.
  • In September we launched Frey Place: our first home-share hybrid to support an individual with criminal justice system involvement and mental health needs to live independently outside of the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital, after receiving an absolute discharge.


2022: We’ve had an exciting start to the year, with announcements of a few new projects:

  •  First Avenue Supportive Housing: In January we announced a new 50-bed residence in Prince George that will provide housing for those who are at-risk of or experiencing homelessness
  • Teak House: A new (and our first in many years) youth-based program that will offer specialized residential support for two youth who are under the age of 19, in the care of MCFD, and living with developmental disabilities.
  • Hawthorn: Opened in February, this assisted living program will provide support to two clients living with acquired brain injuries. This project is our first housing contract with Fraser Health.
  • Diversity Flats: In partnership between Connective, BC Housing, and the city of Kamloops, this 60-unit affordable housing project opened its doors to residents this spring, and is working toward full occupancy.

Looking Forward

As we look ahead, we know that more housing-focused services are to join this long list. While we do not deliver some of the programs listed here anymore – whether that be due to changes in funding, government priorities, best practices, or the needs of the people and communities being served – we are proud of the dynamic nature of our ever-evolving housing continuum. We are honoured to support people and communities through our housing and other programs, and look forward to continually enhancing the ways in which we can show up for, be part of, and stand with our community.

Supportive Housing at Samara

At Connective, we believe that access to adequate housing is fundamental to the creation of safe, healthy, and inclusive communities for all

At Connective, we believe that access to adequate housing is fundamental to the creation of safe, healthy, and inclusive communities for all. Housing is a human right, and a necessary springboard for people looking to overcome any challenges they may be facing and move toward independence. Whether explicitly through our housing programs, or through the application of Housing First principles wherever possible, we assist people to secure housing that meets their unique needs and provide the community-based supports necessary for them to maintain that housing in the long-run.


Our supportive housing programs feature an integrated model, coupling housing with the provision of community-based and living skills support. Service users may live in a Connective housing option or in a community setting and receive person-centered support to meet their goals and needs.


Samara is one such program. Developed to provide safe and secure housing for individuals with mental health challenges who have been involved in the criminal justice system, Samara has since expanded to include individuals who experience other challenges navigating daily life.

Getting to Know Samara

At Samara, staff work to be a bridge from institution to independence, supporting residents in developing healthy lifestyle habits and promoting life skills through collaborative learning and shared activities.


The name Samara comes from the winged fruit of the elm, ash, or maple tree – trees known for their strength, resilience, and flexibility. These attributes resonated with staff and service users alike, perfectly capturing both the aims of the program, and the strengths of those within it.


This past February, we sat down with Travis, the Program Manager for Samara, and James, a resident there, to get a better understanding of the program, its goals, and what an average day in the life might look like. Watch the video below to hear from Travis and James directly.

The Importance of Person-Centered Care

As you can see, the program gives staff and residents plenty of opportunities to connect with one another on a personal level, as they collaborate on progress toward short and long-term goals.


For Travis, it’s this person-centered care that is at the core of Samara.


“All our clients, I feel like we build connections with them as service workers. We have day to day interactions with them, we really enjoy spending time with them…I know that I’ve had a lot of fun working with the clients and I really, really enjoy it. Person centered is the best value we’ve got because, really, it’s all about them, and making sure that they’re happy, and content…yeah, they’re the focus of why we’re here.”



This care and interaction – whether it is directly related to skill building or goals, or just in hanging out – has a huge impact on the daily lives of those in the Samara program. ‘’With the companionship between the residents and our workers, I see a lot of impact in just their happiness, mood…everything.’’


James echoes this sentiment, as well, ‘’I like this place, I like the staff too, they’re really nice…Not everybody works here all the time, right, so sometimes they have people filling in and I get to see someone that I haven’t seen in a couple weeks or a couple months. Yeah, it’s pretty good.’’

Between the music, the barbecue ribs (one of James’ favorite meals to share with staff), and the fun had over air hockey or sharing James’ YouTube videos (‘’he does kind of infomercials, or commercials, and different kinds of sketches…I think they’re hilarious.’’) it’s not hard to imagine how daily life at Samara might be setting the stage for success when it comes to bigger goals. In reflecting on his time with Connective and at Samara so far, James notes how ‘’it really made me start to feel my freedom, and how important it is.’’


We wish James, Travis, and the rest of the team at Samara all the best, and hope you’ve enjoyed this closer look at just one of the many programs here at Connective.

New Supportive Housing in Prince George

This exciting expansion of services in the Prince George community will provide housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness

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

ver 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 Goodwin

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 supports 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 supports that we so wholeheartedly believe in. 

Giving Tuesday 2021: Our Work in Homelessness Prevention

Our donor’s contributions help us support personal and systemic changes in marginalized communities

As you know, on November 1st we changed our name to better reflect who we are, what we do, and how we do it. Central to our work at Connective is addressing complex social issues that require holistic, person-centered, community-based, and solutions-focused approaches. We know that for anyone outside of our sector, this can be abstract. How do we apply these approaches and address complex social issues in practice?


In honour of Giving Tuesday next week, we wanted to answer this question to shed light on the important role donors have in our programs and services. Continue reading to see our donor’s contributions in action and how they help us support personal and systemic changes in marginalized communities.

Addressing Complex Social Issues – Our Work in Homelessness Prevention

We recognize that communities across Canada are in a housing crisis. While most Canadians have experienced or heard about the issue, it disproportionately affects individuals and families impacted by complex social issues, such as people who:

  • Are unemployed or underemployed
  • Experience substance abuse challenges and/or mental illness
  • Are Indigenous or racialized
  • Have developmental disabilities or criminal justice experience
  • Are fleeing violence or domestic abuse, particularly women and gender diverse persons
  • Grew up in the foster care system
  • Have precarious status in Canada, such as refugee claimants and foreign nationals


Here are just some statistics that help illustrate this:


As homelessness is often hidden and hard to gather data on, these statistics don’t paint the whole picture, but they demonstrate various factors that increase the risk of homelessness.

Applying Housing First to Tackle the Issue

Given the drastic ways homelessness affects those experiencing it, as well as on our entire community, housing is essential element of our work. Whether it is in our continuum of housing, or as a wraparound support in any of our other programs, housing is at the center of what we do.


We operate more than 165 housing units across BC & Yukon in 20+ unique housing programs.


When somebody is experiencing homelessness, or is precariously housed (such as living on a friend’s couch), we connect them to housing resources, options in the community, or to housing programs such as our homelessness prevention program.


We do this with housing first principles in mind. This involves moving people experiencing homelessness rapidly from the streets or shelters into stable, long-term housing with supports. Focusing first on housing, with a commitment to addressing other challenges the individual is facing, sets people up for achieving greater independence and reduces the likelihood that they will fall back into homelessness in the future.


Our homelessness prevention program, which applies a proven approach to tackling homelessness, is made possible by donors and government funding

Contribute to our housing & homelessness prevention programming by donating to Connective

We support people with their housing needs through our housing programs, referrals to community or affordable housing, and by working collaboratively with partners, landlords, service providers in the community. Once housed, or in some cases in tandem with finding housing, we work with people to address their other needs and goals, such as those related to substance use, employment, physical or mental health, improving their access to the community around them.


Housing First is not only about housing – supportive service are an important part of the model. This includes both formal and informal supports, however acceptance of services is not a requirement for accessing or maintaining housing.

Examples of Housing First and Person-Centered Programming in Action

Regardless of whether somebody uses substances or is experiencing mental illness, we believe housing is a human right. We listen, develop relationships, and ask questions to design strategies that support people’s needs and goals. We work alongside service users as they navigate complex systems, with the goal of increasing their independence. In turn, folks can uplift themselves out of the potential cycle of homelessness or poverty.


Housing First Residence in theYukon


One example of Housing First in action is our Housing First Residence. Co-delivered by the Council for Yukon First Nations in Whitehorse, Housing First provides low barrier housing for people experiencing homelessness and concurrent barriers such as mental health challenges or addictions. There are no conditions placed on residents, recognizing the complex barriers they face and the need to be person-centered in our approach.


Our staff are on-site 24/7 to provide support such as assistance to access medical care, employment services, or to serve as a source of connection. Residents also have access to cultural supports led by CYFN.


Another example of Housing First in action is in our wraparound services in Prince George. Formally, our ACES Employment program provides employability and life-skills workshops, training, certifications, and supported work experience. Recognizing the importance of stable housing on employment sustainability and success, our ACES teams support participants in their housing needs, providing outreach support, referrals, landlord mediations, and other supports to help find and maintain appropriate housing.


Cultural safety and supports are also an important part of the wraparound supports provided through the ACES program. In Prince George, over 50% of our ACES employment program participants identify as Indigenous. Our team has worked to integrate culturally relevant practices and approaches into the programming, and asked service users how programming can better meet their needs. At the beginning of each cohort, an Elder provides an opening and closing prayer, in addition to offering a smudge for those who want to participate. Standard curricula in our First Aid CPR/AED class also includes information about traditional medicines and plants around the Prince George region.


By incorporating Housing First principles and wraparound supports, our teams ensure our programs are grounded in the local community and needs of participants, and foster confidence, independence, and success.


Advocating for Systemic Change

In addition to addressing homelessness at the individual level, we work with governments, funders, ministries, Indigenous leadership, social service organizations, and others to bring about systems change. We do this through our daily interactions with these stakeholders, as well as through structured forums, such as our Leadership Gathering.


Our Leadership Gathering brings together non-profits, social sector Ministries, health authorities, Indigenous and other community organizations, and voices of lived experience to engage in critical discussions around how the coordination of services to vulnerable populations can be improved to create better outcomes. Together, we dive into key policy issues directly impacting operational services to vulnerable populations and work towards practical solutions.


Our work leading personal and systemic change cannot be complete in a day. It requires time, a willingness to try even when we don’t have the answers,  and a commitment to listening to people and providing them with the support they identify needing rather than in ways we think we ought to support them. It requires collective effort. This is why our donors are so vital in our work towards safe, healthy, and inclusive communities for all. They create unrestricted opportunities for us to be creative, person-centered, and adaptive.


Donors allow us to do our work in the best ways possible.