Tracey Harvey has been a part of the Streetohome team for the last eight years, working as the Administration and Donor Manager, and leading our substance use and recovery initiatives portfolio. As she moves onto new adventures, we’d like to take the time to share her journey and accomplishments at Streetohome.
Where and when did your interest in homelessness come about?
I previously worked for United Way, where one area of focus was on seniors. There was an increased concern about the number of seniors struggling financially, and homelessness looked like a reality for many seniors with limited means. It was especially impactful to me at the time as I was dealing with the housing and care needs of my mom.
My friend and former colleague, Pam, was in the role at Streetohome and, given her family’s need to relocate, reached out thinking I would be a good fit because of my work experience and my interest in seniors’ homelessness. So, I followed Pam’s lead and joined the team.
What has been your favourite initiative that we’ve funded?
There are many Streetohome initiatives that I think are amazing, but my favourite is the recently opened Recovery Café. On a study trip to Seattle, we knew from the moment we walked through the door of the Recovery Café flagship that we needed to bring it to Vancouver. Recovery Café Seattle was a very powerful space that exuded hope and possibility.
The Recovery Café is an inclusive and safe place for members to pursue recovery and wellness – whether it’s from, poverty, homelessness, isolation, mental health challenges, trauma, unemployment, crime, or substance use. Its members find friendship, acceptance, support and a roadmap for moving forward. The Kettle Society’s passionate and skilled Recovery Café team (Damian, Ruth and Chad) are helping members realize their individual dreams.
What’s your favourite memory or story from working at Streetohome?
I have a couple. My first homeless count with Lloyd Craig (Vice Chair) was a very enriching experience – we spoke with 15 people and were able to get a better understanding of the various pathways into homelessness. A second memory is accompanying John McLernon (Board Chair) to a radio interview to provide support on the sidelines and unexpectedly being invited on air.
What’s one lesson you’ve learned from working at Streetohome and want to share with others?
Connection is key to building a healthy community – people thrive in inclusive environments where they have a voice, personal agency, a sense of belonging, and mutual accountability. Such a culture is a prominent feature of the Recovery Café, the Adapted Therapeutic Community day program model (that Streetohome and BC Addiction Recovery Association are sponsoring), and Delancey Street (a new live-in therapeutic community that Streetohome is currently brokering).
What are your hopes and expectations for Streetohome, having contributed significantly to our footprint?
My hope is that Streetohome continues to look for and implement innovative solutions that can be adapted for Vancouver to prevent individuals from becoming homeless in the first place; or provide a variety of pathways out of homelessness offering choice, care, and sensitivity.
What’s next for you?
I will be in Spain for the month of December. It will be great to meet up with friends, eat tapas and paella, have some fun and just maybe… learn to speak some Spanish. When I return, I look forward to exploring new opportunities to grow in 2023.
Thank you for your passion, energy and hard work over the years Tracey.