Celebrating 31 Years

We celebrated our 31st birthday this weekend!

On June 13, 1989 the John Howard Society of the Lower Mainland incorporated as a non-profit organization in BC. Our roots can be traced back much further in the Lower Mainland, to our beginnings in Vancouver in 1929, and the incorporation of JHSBC in 1931. Reflecting on our long history in the region – and our 31 years as JHSLM – we wanted to take a moment to celebrate where we’ve been, and where we are going as an organization.

We have grown tremendously since our beginnings, and particularly in recent years.

A photo from JHSBC's 50th Birthday Meeting

In 2005, we operated 2 CRFs in the Lower Mainland – Guy Richmond Place and Hobden House, which had the capacity to house 32 people at any given time as they transitioned from prison to community. Fast forward just 15 years later to today, we now operate four CRFs and our new transitional residential housing program, with the capacity to serve up to 116 residents in multiple communities across our region and beyond.

We have expanded our reach to include new CRFs in Abbotsford, and last year were proud to open Miyáq’elhá:wetawt; an Indigenous-focused program at Tims Manor for people that follow an Indigenous life path. Given the vast overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system, Miyáq’elhá:wetawt allows us to play a role in filling the gap in supports available for Indigenous people exiting the justice system. Just this past May, we opened a new transitional residential housing program in the Yukon. This exciting new program, co-located on the grounds of the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, has the capacity to support up to 40 residents reintegrating in the territory.

A carving crafted dby Miyàq’elhà:wetawt program participants
In 2005, our Community Living team provided residential services at Vancouver Apartments, and outreach to a total of 31 individuals in Vancouver. Today, we have 7 CLS Residential programs and support over 265 people through our CLS Outreach services spanning multiple communities. We have also implemented a wide range of person-centered programs that did not exist when we started out as an organization, such as many of our employment and homelessness prevention programs. We can be proud of the programs and services that we provide, and know that we are making a positive impact in our communities.

As we see the vast range of complex barriers faced by vulnerable people in society, we know there is more work to do to help bridge the gaps.  We’re excited to continue strategizing and putting together action plans to do better for the people and communities that we serve, and to continue serving more people through person-centered programming and services that meet their self-determined needs and goals.

In celebration of JHS Week this year, we posted a blog on our website about the evolution of the JHS in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley – we encourage you to take a look if you haven’t already!

We are incredibly proud of the progress that we have made over the last 31 years, and look forward to continuing our efforts to build a safe, healthy, and inclusive community for all in the years to come.