This past year, 2014-2015, had its challenges, but overall we had a stellar year.
We weathered another Thrift Shoppe fire and thanks to hundreds and hundreds of kind citizens we were able to restock our shop and reopen in November.
Our 24/7 MAP prototype finished its second year and demonstrated that it is an effective and efficient way to divert crises from the police and emergency medical services while offering humane interventions that assist the homeless in getting connected to services and supports they need.
We are currently working with our community colleagues to review the prototype and figure out how, together, to move forward with an integrated, community approach to crisis diversion services.
We added a Jobs Club to our mix of employment services, which helped find permanent jobs for 100 of our clients – all of them paying above a living wage.
Late in the year, we were able to add three more Housing First staff who are focusing on finding homes for large families with complex needs.
We also worked to better integrate all of our services in order to make it easier for people to access them, and have nearly completed the creation of a database that will help us better understand, act, and track our work with those who seek our help.
We also ended the year in strong financial shape, generating a small surplus in operations, which will go into our “rainy day” fund.
April 1 marked the beginning of our new fiscal year. It’s going to be a challenging one, given the economic climate. We anticipate some reduced funding from our provincial funders, but believe at this writing, the reductions will be manageable.
That said, we have secured or will be securing resources to continue to grow our services to address our mission and priorities. Our two major priorities this year are to house more homeless people and put more people to work.
Currently we are designing a new assertive outreach team that will consist of seven staff, all of them devoted to seeking out homeless individuals and working with them to find and sustain housing.
This team will add to our already considerable Housing First work and will also help those homeless individuals who do not qualify for Housing First assistance. In the first year, our goal is to find housing for 150 more homeless people than we currently do each year. Stay tuned for more on this; we hope to launch in July or August.
We are also working on a plan that will increase our capacity to secure more temporary and permanent employment for low income workers. While I do not have a launch date in mind as of yet, we hope to get this off the ground within the next 12 months.
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