Throughout the 2018-19 year, we focused on identifying and bridging the gaps. Through innovative programming and collaborative partnerships, we worked to remove the barriers that prevent members of our community from achieving greater independence.
BRIDGING THE GAPS
John Howard Society of the Lower Mainland
2018-19 Annual Report
When Irish started receiving assistance from JHS in 2017, she was experiencing challenges with her mental health and wouldn’t open her front door to meet with her Outreach Worker. Communicating only through social media at first, Irish and her worker Robin slowly began to build trust. With time, Irish became more comfortable with Robin as they worked together to build her capacity to live independently and access the services and supports she needed. Irish is now thriving in every aspect of her life. She’s happy, healthy, has three jobs, a strong network of support, and is competing in the Special Olympics Championship Games.
In the winter of 2017, Joe was homeless after 15 years of incarceration. Residing in an emergency shelter at the time, a staff person at the facility had developed a rapport with Joe, and connected with the JHS to see if we could assist him in securing more stable housing. That’s when he was connected to the JHS Homelessness Partnership Strategy – Bridge to Housing outreach team. Now, Joe has a home where he enjoys cooking, sitting in his garden, and is an active participant in his community.
We serve people by providing assistance with housing, life-skills, education, employment, and community-based services, with the goal of helping people achieve greater independence and value their positive contributions to society.
We bridge gaps through our continuum of programs and services, which are grounded in a person-centered approach. We design and adapt programming to meet people where they are at, and support them in achieving their self determined needs and interests.
Our Housing & Program Continuum
This year we were able to offer 5 new programs, bringing us to 25 programs and services delivered across the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley.
Through our long history of service delivery across the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, we have developed an expertise in supporting people with complex needs facing multiple barriers including those who may be involved in the criminal justice system, experiencing homelessness, employment barriers, problematic substance use, mental health challenges, developmental disabilities, or spectrum disorders.
Our effective and sustainable programs and services provide the tools and supports necessary for vulnerable people to achieve their goals, and value their positive contributions to society. In the last year, we have continued to demonstrate that expertise by not only building on our existing programs and services but also creating new ones, ultimately allowing us to support more people in diverse ways.
One of the greatest challenges faced by many of the people we serve is access to long-term, safe, and affordable housing that meets their needs. There are numerous barriers to safe and affordable housing, such as poverty, intergenerational trauma, experience with the criminal justice system, problematic substance use, mental health challenges, disabilities, and a lack of access to health care and other community-based services. Recognizing that homelessness needs to be viewed as a cycle requiring on-going support, rather than as a transitional stage to be managed using short-term solutions, we are determined to provide wraparound supports that, together with our housing initiatives, tackle the root causes of homelessness and support people to achieve greater independence.
Despite growing housing challenges faced by community members across the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, we aren’t ones to shy away from tough challenges. We are committed to continuing to assess real estate opportunities, and to working closely with housing providers, funders, and partners to identify innovative strategies which can increase housing opportunities for the people we serve.
Through multi-sector collaboration, strong partnerships, and innovative housing projects, we can bridge the affordable housing gap experienced by many of the people that we serve.
Meaningful employment not only provides us with the financial means to sustain our livelihoods, but also gives us the opportunity to be productive, contributing members of society. Employment provides a strong sense of social value, enables the development of networks of support and belonging, and builds our knowledge and self-esteem. Employment can also mitigate risk and help people deal more effectively with stressful events. Providing the training, supports, and opportunities necessary for people facing complex barriers to secure and maintain employment that meets their interests and capabilities is one of the most fundamental ways that we can contribute to a safe, healthy, and inclusive community for all.
We are excited about the opportunities we have had this year to bridge the gaps in employment and expand our employment programming, and are so proud to share the amazing stories of a few of our program participants.
Our new ACES program engaged with over 180 people this year. We have seen great success in the program, and are excited about new opportunities to expand its scope; not only in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, but also across BC.
This year, over 50% of participants enrolled in our Grassroots employment program secured part-time or full-time positions following their graduation. This is the highest rate of employment obtained since the start of the program.
Our Employment Preparation Program had 53 participants this year, with a 68% completion rate among participants. In addition to employment skills training, the program provides support with housing, identification, and other areas which are important to securing and maintaining employment.
The historical, multigenerational, and intergenerational traumas experienced by Indigenous Peoples in Canada restricts access to essential services and resources for many Indigenous Peoples within our communities. Even when services are accessible, they are often designed by and for other populations, and do not reflect the knowledge systems, beliefs, and values of Indigenous Peoples.
As service providers that support some of the most vulnerable people within our communities, we continue to critically assess how we can build the services and approaches necessary for Indigenous Peoples to feel safe, welcome, and served in a way that meets their needs.
The John Howard Society is grateful to work on the ancestral, traditional, and unceded Indigenous territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh), Kway-quit-lum (Kwikwetlem), Kwantlen, Q’e’yc’ey (Katzie), Matsqui, Sema:th (Sumas), ˌsɛmiˈɑːmuː (Semiahmoo), Qayqayt, Stó:lō, Səwaθn Məsteyəxʷ (Tsawwassen), and other Coast Salish Peoples. Unceded means that this land was never surrendered, relinquished, or handed over in any way. We acknowledge that we are accountable to those that have been active stewards of this land since time immemorial, and we are committed to continuing to deepen our understanding of how we can honour this responsibility.
Tims Manor - Miyáqˈelhá:wetawt
Indigenous Culturally-focused Community-Based Residential Facility
Tims Manor has served as a transitional home for men reintegrating into the community from correctional facilities without residency conditions since 1998. In October 2018, we transformed the residence in response to the need for culturally-focused reintegration services that honour the needs of residents and acknowledge the additional barriers faced by Indigenous Peoples transitioning out of the criminal justice system.
We are excited and honoured to introduce our new Indigenous culturally-focused Community-Based Residential Facility program, Miyáqˈelhá:wetawt.
Recognizing that each First Nation has unique protocols, traditions, and cultures, we are thankful to work in partnership with Elder Mary, an All Nations teacher, in the delivery of our new Indigenous-focused reintegration program, Miyàq’elhà:wetawt.
In preparation for our annual report, we had the opportunity to speak with Elder Mary and Eric, a resident of one of our Abbotsford-based CBRFs, as they reflected on Miyàq’elhà:wetawt and its significance to those participating in the program from their own unique perspectives.
Throughout the 2018-19 year, we continued to expand our services to provide support to youth and young adults, in order to bridge gaps in services for those who are transitioning out of care or into the community from the criminal justice system.
Through our Community Living Services programs, we work closely with Community Living BC (CLBC) and the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) to support the transition from youth to adult services. We have been working with MCFD to begin service delivery to youth in the year prior to aging out, to assist with planning and preparation, and to ensure consistency in service delivery through their transition from MCFD to CLBC. Working collaboratively, we can support youth through what could otherwise be a difficult transition to adult services, and provide increased opportunities for success.
We also had the opportunity to support youth ages 18 to 30 who are gang-involved or at high risk of gang involvement in Abbotsford through our participation in the In It Together (IIT) youth gang prevention initiative. In collaboration with Archway Community Services (formally known as Abbotsford Community Services), Abbotsford Police Department, and the Abbotsford School District, we wrapped up the five-year pilot project which focused on Community Mobilization, Primary and Secondary Prevention, Intervention, Suppression and Re-entry. The JHS re-entry component of IIT provided one-to-one individualized support and group workshops to youth during their reintegration into the community, and support and resources that positively foster resiliency for future success. We are so thankful to have been involved with this innovative project, and to have had the opportunity to bridge the gaps for youth as they transitioned to the community.
Looking forward, we will continue to explore innovative and collaborative opportunities to bridge the gaps for youth as they transition to more independent living in the community.
Having a positive, supportive network can make the difference in somebody’s ability to navigate through challenges circumstances. Often, marginalized and vulnerable populations face multiple barriers that can foster or exacerbate isolation. This may prevent them from accessing mainstream community resources or lead to a breakdown of pro-social supports.
By supporting people to build strong and positive social networks, we can further bolster vulnerable peoples’ ability to thrive in their day to day lives.
Volunteers & Practicum Students
Volunteers and practicum students are a foundational part of the JHS team. This year, we were able to provide opportunities to 72 amazing volunteers and practicum students, which is over double the amount of positions available compared to last year.
We continue to develop partnerships with post-secondary institutions to expand opportunities for students to gain practical knowledge and valuable work experience, and to assist individuals receiving JHS support and services. The JHS strives to have a diverse support team that reflects the diversity of the individuals we serve. This year, we developed a partnership with the Indigenous-focused social work program at Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, with the goal of enhancing service delivery to Indigenous Peoples. In the 2018-19 year, we had the opportunity to host one practicum student from this program.
Moving forward, we are looking to expand volunteer opportunities by identifying how we can accommodate youth under the age of 18 to support our work; how we can increase opportunities for marginalized peoples; and how we can expand volunteer opportunities in different programs and departments across the organization.
Last year alone, our determined and inspiring volunteers and practicum students contributed 4558 hours to support our vision of a safe, healthy, and inclusive community for all. We are incredibly fortunate to have been able to transition 18 of our volunteers and practicum students from their placement into JHS employees this year!
We would like to thank our 2018-19 volunteers and practicum students for their time and dedication to the JHS and to the people and communities we serve!
Volunteers In Focus
Sarah came to us as a practicum student while completing her Bachelor of Social Work. Although she lived two hours away from our Vancouver Community Service Office (CSO), Sarah’s immediate connection with the team was enough for her to take the leap and start her practicum with us. Utilizing her strengths and passions, Sarah suggested that she could deliver a new yoga class at the CSO twice a week in the summer of 2018. Sarah mastered the art of making yoga accessible, fun, and person-centered, and even after her placement at the CSO ended (and she transitioned to a residence worker role with the organization!) her legacy remains – because of her initiative in leading the way and suggesting this great new activity at the CSO, we have support new volunteers to deliver inclusive yoga at the CSO.
Our Staff Team
As JHS programs and services continue to expand their reach, we are fortunate that this has been accompanied by growth in our incredible staff team. The work that we do would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our amazing staff.
In the 2018-19 year, we welcomed 52 new employees to the organization, bringing us to 218 team members across our region. Every day, our staff team lives our values, and makes invaluable contributions to our communities and the lives of the people we serve.
As we look ahead, we are continuing to focus on recruitment and retention of great team members to help us work towards our vision of a safe, healthy, and inclusive community for all.
January 2019 marked the launch of the newest component of our Employee Recognition Program, the JHS High Five awards!
Our new High Five program provides an everyday, ongoing opportunity for our team members to recognize the amazing values-based work of their peers, congratulate co-workers for going above and beyond, and to celebrate the great work and the ‘little things’ that take place through our team’s work every day.
In the first 6 months alone, 235 High Fives have been shared between team members across the JHS!
Our Board of Directors
Our amazing Board of Directors is made up of determined, enthusiastic, and compassionate community members who volunteer their time and expertise to the JHS. We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to our Board for their strategic direction and commitment to our vision of a safe, healthy, and inclusive community for all.
Pat Alexander (Vice Chair), Jayce Allen (Vice Chair), Dan Muzzin (Treasurer), Pamela Smith-Gander (Secretary), Carrie McCulley, Morten Bisgaard, Darryl Shackelly, and Prevail. While Darryl and Prevail have both stepped down from their positions on the Board, we are incredibly grateful for their contributions to our organization. We would also like to welcome our newest Board member, Galib Bhayani, who joined the Board shortly after our 2018-19 year came to an end.
Thank you to our Board of Directors!
Our Funders and Supporters
We are incredibly fortunate to have a strong and diverse range of individuals, organizations, governments, and other stakeholders supporting the work that we do. Each supporter has in their own unique way, by leveraging the expertise, capacity, and resources available to them, enabled the JHS to deliver sustainable, innovative programming that truly meets the needs of some of the most marginalized, vulnerable people within our communities.
Only by working together can we truly break down the barriers faced by those we serve and bridge the gaps that restrict our collective ability to create a safe, healthy, and inclusive community for all.
We are incredibly thankful for our supporters, without whose contributions, this year may not have been as incredibly impactful as it was.
As our 5-year strategic plan comes to an end in 2020, we look forward to engaging with our service users, staff, stakeholders, and communities as we reaffirm the long-term strategies which will help us to achieve our mission.
While we plan for the future, our 2019-20 Strategic Priorities document highlights the key goals and initiatives that guide our work this year. Critical to each of our priorities is our commitment to bridging gaps in a way that truly meets the evolving needs and goals of those we serve, while also ensuring that we have a strong foundation to support growth as an organization and sustainability into the future.
In our commitment to continuous quality improvement, since 2005 we have maintained accreditation through CARF (Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities).
CARF is well-established independent, non-profit accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value, and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process that centers on enhancing the lives of persons served.
Early 2020 marks our next 3-year accreditation survey, and we are looking forward to the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to excellence and ensuring that we continue to have the policies, processes, and procedures in place to provide the best services possible.
This year more than ever before, we worked collaboratively with regional John Howard Society affiliates across the province. We worked together to build the capacity of the provincial organization, and to establish the John Howard Society as the trusted voice on social and criminal justice issues in British Columbia.
We came together to deliver innovative and effective province-wide programming managed by the John Howard Society of BC (JHSBC) and delivered by regional societies across the province. Our ACES (Acquiring Community-Based Employment Skills) program is just one example of our new province-wide programs. Delivered, in eight communities across BC, ACES is a unique and innovative employment program which has supported participants to achieve their employment goals. Looking towards 2019-20, JHSBC is supporting regions to deliver additional province-wide programs, including our new Forensic Outreach and Peer Mentor programs.
Together with our JHS partners from across the province, we are working to create safe, healthy and inclusive communities in British Columbia.
Our 2018-19 fiscal year was a busy one, with the introduction of new programs, increased housing units, and new funding partnerships.
This year, our revenue increased by almost 24% – this included the expansion of beds at our Community-Based Residential Facilities and the launch of a new Community Living Residential Program, as well as the addition of new province-wide programs in our region. The increase in our revenue represents new initiatives, expanded diversity of direct services, collaborations with other organizations, and strengthened relationships with our existing funders. We are proud that our revenues translate into our increased ability to provide services to meet the needs of the people and communities we serve.
Our expenditures increased in line with our revenues this year, with increases seen in our staff training and engagement, property maintenance, and investments in our computer systems and technology to assist our teams and improve operational efficiency. We are pleased to report that as we have grown, we have continued to demonstrate our strong commitment to reasonable spending and accountability.