Joe became a client of our Bridge to Housing (BTH) program in March, 2018. At that time, our BTH outreach team worked with Joe to identify his needs and develop concrete strategies to transition him towards long-term housing. There were several barriers that stood in the way of Joe securing housing independently. Having spent a significant amount of time residing in a correctional facility, Joe had no landlord references and insufficient proof of income. He also faced other barriers to housing, such as problematic substance use, mental health challenges, and a lifetime of trauma and abuse; including his experience as a survivor of the Sixties Scoop. Shortly after becoming a client of BTH, Joe was able to secure a single room occupancy hotel in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver with the support of his outreach worker.
While residing in the Downtown Eastside, Joe expressed to his outreach worker that the environment was detrimental to his overall wellbeing and exacerbated his problematic substance use and mental health. His outreach worker worked with Joe to identify alternative housing solutions, and advocated for him to secure long-term affordable housing through our partnership with a housing provider in the Lower Mainland once a suite became available in the new year.
When Joe was experiencing overwhelm and stress, he came to us for support. It’s cool to be in a place with a client where you can say, ‘hey, this is why we are here.
“After developing a strong rapport with Joe, I wanted to advocate for him in every way to secure housing. Once it was confirmed that he would move into [the housing unit], I connected with other service providers that were supporting him at the time to develop strategies that would facilitate a positive transition for him. We worked to ensure Joe’s unit was furnished, and I assisted him to develop a safety plan and ease his anxiety about moving.”
– Joe’s outreach worker
Since Joe’s move, his mental and physical health have improved significantly. He has also expressed to his outreach worker that his substance use has decreased dramatically.
“Recently, Joe came to our Community Services Office in distress about a conflict that he had experienced with his neighbor. After supporting him through this experience, and learning more about what had happened, it turned out that the issue was very minor; something that likely all of us who have lived in an apartment building have experienced at some point. The significance of this occurrence is that when Joe was experiencing overwhelm and stress, he came to us for support. It’s cool to be in a place with a client where you can say, ‘hey, this is why we are here.’”
In his new home, Joe has created positive relationships with his building manager, fellow building residents, and his wider community. He loves to cook, go for long walks in his neighborhood, and to sit in his garden.
“Joe is an example of a marginalized individual, who, given the right community supports, inclusion, and housing, can flourish within society. Joe’s story demonstrates the importance of the Housing First Principle, and the value of a proactive housing continuum that supports people as their needs evolve. Joe has disclosed to his outreach worker that he has a new love for life and is grateful for his housing opportunities through the JHS”