Category Archives: 2014

Canadian Mental Health Association – Kelowna and District

The Canadian Mental Health Association facilitates access to the resources individuals require to maintain and improve mental health and community integration, build resilience, and support recovery from mental illness.

CMHA Kelowna

“CB25 helped me get back in touch with community and society. Not a lot of opportunities for me to get in touch with a normal style of life. Possible career paths have opened up, like I’m thinking about culinary stuff. I got that through Supper Club.” – Participant

 The initiative :

Connected by 25 : Supporting Successful Transitions to Adulthood for Vulnerable Young People in the Central Okanagen. This initiative focuses on the needs of youth aged 16 to 24 who are at risk of falling through the cracks as they transitional to adulthood and facilitates access to the supports they need. Key objectives of the program:

  • Build the individual capacity of the youth, focussing on relationships, skills, knowledge, and abilities, in order to enhance their resiliency and reduce risk as they transition to adulthood
  • Build community capacity to ensure that young people who require support services can access them
  • Work towards systemic and policy reform to ensure that those in the 16 to 24 age group have a system of care that is responsive to their needs and a voice in the policy issues that directly affect them, including poverty, a living wage, employment, and lack of affordable housing.

Impact for youth:

  • Staff support in navigating complicated youth and adult mental health systems
  • Support in navigating income support system
  • Accessing the right kind of help when needed
  • Preventing homelessness
  • Identifying barriers experienced by youth transitioning to adulthood that can be addressed by the community, thus resulting in better protocols, coordination and policy
  • Increased inter-agency collaboration as individuals connected with youth services become too old to be served by one organization and require linkages to new supports.

Results from 2 year pilot phase:

  • 100 % of youth engaged with the program reported increased knowledge of community based resources for adults and connection to community resources
  • 88% reported an increase in life skills knowledge and development
  • 75% reported an increase in overall health and wellness

Home Base Housing

Home Base Housing develops and manages safe and affordable housing and emergency shelter and support services to meet the needs of youth, adults, and families at risk of homelessness in the Kingston area.


“The Youth Services Program helped me to get my apartment, take me to my appointments and get food. They gave me a job, which provided a reference letter; they supplied me with cooking programs. Before Youth Services I was staying in a shelter with nothing and doing nothing.” – Participant, aged 20

“Before moving to RISE, I dropped out of school, was escorting and had anorexia. Being in this program I was able to stop escorting and get over my eating disorder. I graduated High School and am working on moving to my favourite city.” – Participant, aged 19

The initiative:

The Youth Services Program with its goal of ending the cycle of homelessness among youth 16 to 24 years through:

    • Transitional housing units and flexible client supports
    • Teaching and skills development through educational or job opportunities, practising life skills, embracing harm reduction, and providing mental health supports
    • Assisting youth in the community obtain housing in the private or non profit sectors and secure longer term supports to  help them maintain their housing
    • Supporting single mothers and newborns through the provision of housing and supports.

Impact for youth:

    • At any one time 30 formerly homeless or at-risk youth have safe, affordable housing.
    • 8 transitional housing units at the 21 unit apartment building RISE@one4nine permit Home Base staff to quickly move youth out of homelessness or unsafe situations and into a safe place to live. These youth then move on to other forms of housing suited to their needs.
    • 13 long term units have been home to eight individuals since opening in 2012. Other tenants have moved from these apartments into other units in the non-profit and private market sectors.
    • Secure housing and client centered support services lead to client success in mastering life skills, increased attendance at school or work, more involvement with community groups and services, and fewer health risks.

LOFT Community Services

LOFT promotes independence and recovery for individuals with multiple challenges including mental health, addiction, physical health and homelessness issues. LOFT offers support services including transitional and longer term housing.

“Thanks to LOFT, I went back to school. Got my high school diploma. And I’m inches away from a degree in social work from George Brown College. Pretty great, right? Well, it’s just the beginning. Next, I’m applying to the nursing program at George Brown. I really hope I get in. Me, a nurse. Helping others. Not just a job, but a career. And a stable, meaningful, good life.” – Participant, TAY Program

The Initiative

Transitional Age Youth (TAY) Program which focuses on youth aged 18 to 24 experiencing mental health and/or addiction issues. The key to the program is developing an empathetic, hopeful and continuous client-worker relationship and coordination of support across sectors. The program serves about 200 youth per year offering a range of supports including case management, system navigation, assistance with the activities of daily living, advocacy and access to housing.

Impact for youth:

  • Increased sense of hope, self esteem and emotional development
  •  Goal setting among youth with renewed focus on re-engaging with school, becoming employed, gaining financial self sufficiency, getting ‘a place of their own’
  • Increase in involvement in vocational roles (employment, pre-employment, skills training, volunteering, etc.)
  • Increase in involvement in educational roles (GED, college, university, school readiness program, etc)
  • Increase in proportion of youth living in safe housing
  • Increase in physical and mental health supports being accessed by the youth

Spectre de rue

Spectre de rue s’adresse à des personnes du centre-ville de Montréal, aux prises avec des problèmes de toxicomanie, de prostitution, d’itinérance et de santé mentale, se concentrant sur la prévention et la réduction de la propagation des infections transmises sexuellement ou par le sang (ITSS)

Spectre de rue works with individuals in downtown Montreal who are struggling with drug addiction, prostitution, homelessness or mental health challenges with a focus on preventing and reducing the spread of diseases that are transmitted sexually or through injection drug use. (English text follows below)

spectre de rue


TAPAJ (Travail alternatif payé à la journée) offre aux jeunes qui pratiquent divers métiers de la rue la possibilité de mieux s’impliquer dans leur communauté d’une manière plus positive et constructive, tout en étant rémunérés pour leur travail dans différents plateaux de travailet trouver ainsi une solution de rechange à leur situation précaire.

À l’étape 1, les participants doivent réserver une place à l’un des plateaux de travail de TAPAJ. Chaque plateau de travail a une durée variant de 2 à 3 heures et les participants sont rémunérés à la fin du plateau. Parmi les plateaux de travail, mentionnons des projets visant l’amélioration communautaire (par ex., aménagement paysager, plantations); initiatives de nettoyage du quartier (alléeset parcs); et également d’autres opportunités comme travailler dans le cadre de foires et d’expositions.

Les personnes qui veulent prendre leur vie en mains peuvent accéder à l’étape 2, qui permet d’élaborer et de réaliser un plan de travail et des objectifs personnels et d’avoir un suivi avec un travailleur de soutien deux fois par mois pour passer en revue leurs objectifs. C’est à cette étape que les participants sortent graduellement des refuges, peuvent manger à leur faim, planifient comment régler leurs frais juridiques et ainsi vont de l’avant!

Effets positifs chez les jeunes

  • À court terme, les effets se traduisent par une aide s’appliquant au revenu, à la nourriture et aux besoins essentiels.
  • Les jeunes échappent à la routine qu’était leur vie dans la rue et en marge de la société, et mettent à profit des expériences qui ouvrent leurs horizons
  • Les jeunes développent des relations avec les travailleurs de soutien ce qui peut mener à la solution d’un problème tenant compte du contexte qui leur est propre.
  • Les jeunes ont aussi la chance de créer des liens qui vont bien au-delà des besoins fondamentaux
  • Les jeunes se sentent mieux acceptés pour ce qu’ils sont, contribuant ainsi à atténuer l’impression d’avoir été rejetés par la famille et la société.
  • Les jeunes développent leur confiance et l’estime des autres
  • Les jeunes développent leurs capacités personnelles et professionnelles
  • Les jeunes améliorent leurs conditions de vie.

The initiative

TAPAJ (Alternative work paid by the day) provides young people who are involved in different street trades with the opportunity to become more involved in their community in a positive and constructive way, be paid for their work on a variety of job sites and experience an alternative to their precarious existence.

In stage 1, participants reserve a place at one of the TAPAJ job sites. Each shift is 2.5 to 3 hours and participants are paid at the end of the shift. Job sites include community improvement projects (e.g. landscaping, planting); neighbourhood clean up initiatives (laneways and parks); as well as other opportunities such as working at fairs and expositions.

Individuals ready to move ahead in their lives can move into stage 2, which includes developing and embracing a work plan and personal goals and following up with a support worker twice a month to review goals. It is in this stage that participants gradually get out of shelters, begin to eat as much as they want, make a plan to pay their legal fees and generally begin to move forward.

Impact for youth:

  • Short term impacts include help with income, food and basic needs
  • Youth break out of the routine of street life and social isolation and tap into experiences that broaden their horizons
  • Youth develop relationships with support workers which can lead to problem solving around the unique circumstances of the individuals
  • Youth have to the chance to form connections that go beyond the necessities of life
  • Youth experience a greater sense of being accepted for who they are, which helps to counteract the sense of familial or societal rejection they have
  • Youth develop confidence in others and greater self awareness
  • Youth develop their personal abilities and professional skills
  • Youth improve the condition of their lives.