Streetohome is looking at strategies on how best to connect people, knowledge and resources to ensure a more robust homelessness service system.
Our City’s most vulnerable citizens are often disconnected from services, and do not have a standard touch-point that offers system-wide access to housing, health, legal, education and/or employment services and opportunities, which are critical to assisting them in times of distress and/or supporting them to move along their desired life path.
Without such a touch-point, individuals struggle to find and access resources. They are limited to personal networks and the capacity of his/her support worker or case manager and generally receive a single, “one size fits all” solution that does not adequately address the uniqueness of each individual or their current situation.
Streetohome is exploring a Smart City – Life Intentions initiative that will give Vancouver’s 20,000+ vulnerable citizens (street and sheltered homeless; tenants in supportive housing and single room occupancy hotels – ‘SROs’; individuals exiting foster care, corrections and addiction treatment and recovery housing; people new to Vancouver) an opportunity to explore and identify their housing, health, legal, education and/or employment intentions through an online portal, and subsequently connect with support services and opportunities catalogued in a database to help them pursue their goals.
The Smart Cities project concept is to create a digital interface that will include:
- A personal story repository where individuals can share their story & history, preventing them from having to tell their story repeatedly and potentially re-traumatizing them in the process.
- A personal identification storage to save service providers time in assisting with the renewal of vulnerable individuals’ IDs, which are often lost or stolen, and subsequently involve considerable social service resources to navigate their replacement
- A real time, continuously updated, database of support services and opportunities that can provide pathways to realizing life intentions and goals.
Individuals will have full control over their information – allowing them to connect with services by sending their intentions and history to service providers, or by browsing services privately through the support services and opportunities database, empowering individuals to explore different support services and opportunities suited to what they feel their needs are at the time, and self-identify to gain access.
Recovery Community Centre (RCC)
Many Vancouverites go from participating in intensive and expensive outpatient or live-in recovery programs, where they have access to a multitude of program supports and 24-7 peer support, to the opposite extreme – fully detaching from these supports and becoming relatively isolated within not only their old home community, but also their newfound recovery community.
Compounding feelings of disconnection are challenges in learning to avoid the usual people, places and things when returning to everyday life. Some individuals develop a self-care plan and may arrange follow-up appointments with a physician and/or attend a self-help group or two; however, many individuals struggle and are often discouraged when neither a good fit, nor a sense of belonging are experienced in their community.
The Recovery Community Centre (RCC) model will fill a void in the recovery services and support continuum in Vancouver. RCCs are low-cost, peer-operated centres that serve as locatable resources of community-based recovery support. These resources can help individuals connect and build recovery capital at the community level through: recovery support groups; recovery social and recreational activities on and off-site (yoga; meditation; clubs such as hiking, book, cooking, sewing, pick-up sports; or any other organized activity based on collective interests); and supportive relationships developed amongst individuals in recovery. The increased recovery capital helps some individuals begin their recovery journey and others to sustain their recovery over time.
RCCs provide a meaningful sense of belonging and connection to a positive peer group and create opportunities to help those coming up behind them.
Communty of Practice (CoP)
Streetohome has launched a Community of Practice (CoP) for a variety of projects and initiatives, connecting people and resources together to discuss and share experiences, learnings, challenges and successes.
A CoP is a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. This definition reflects the fundamentally social nature of human learning (http://wenger-trayner.com/resources/what-is-a-community-of-practice/).
Streetohome is bringing together partners under the following Community of Practices: Addictions Recovery Community, San Patrignano Alumni, Recovery Community Centres and Smart Cities – Life Intentions.