Strengthening Hope Project

STRENGTHENING HOPE PROJECT
         
SUMMARY OVERVIEW

The Strengthening Hope Project is a comprehensive community approach to address emergent and ongoing issues related to homelessness in Hope. Through outreach, community engagement, and education the project aims to address stigma related to homelessness, work towards a common understanding of the issues surrounding homelessness, and engage in community dialogue to create solutions together.  Community safety will be addressed through enhanced training, education and awareness building opportunities for public officials, first responders and community members.

Strengthening Hope is a joint project of the District of Hope, Fraser Health, United Way of British Columbia, Hope and Area Transition Society, the business community, and community-based committees actively addressing homelessness.

As part of the Strengthening Hope Project, Hope and Area Transition Society continues to offer outreach, including evening outreach services to unsheltered persons. The outreach services include meals, hygiene products, harm reduction supplies and referrals to and connection with relevant health and social services.

The United Way of British Columbia will facilitate community engagement sessions.  Fraser Health will provide education and capacity building. The District of Hope provides project oversight and project coordination is provided by a contracted position.

 

The Strengthening Hope Project revolves around four key activities:

  1. Improving health and safety through outreach services to unsheltered persons in Hope
  2. Reducing community concerns about public health and safety in neighbourhoods where unsheltered persons are present
  3. Improving service among the District of Hope, health and social service providers, Indigenous organizations and others providing care and compassion for unsheltered persons, persons at risk of becoming homeless and much needed supportive housing and other forms of social housing
  4. Improving capacity building as it relates to culturally safe and trauma informed care and compassion

See Below for Frequently Asked Questions

For more information or questions about the Strengthening Hope Project send an email to
rvanwyk@uwbc.ca

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1.  What is the Strengthening Hope Project?

  • The strengthening Hope Project, funded through a grant from the Union of BC Municipalities, is part of the Strengthening Communities’ Services Program - a program of the Province of British Columbia which works towards creating safer and healthier communities and addresses homelessness in the community.1

2.  Why is a project like this needed in Hope?

  • Although there are a variety of services available and a significant degree of compassion present in Hope in response to homelessness, the Strengthening Hope Project will look at whether service coordination can be improved upon and what service gaps may still exist. By means of ongoing community collaboration, the goal of the project is to further bolster the capacity of Hope as a caring and healthy community.

3.  Who is involved in this project?

This project is a collaborative effort, supported by Chawathil First Nation, and involving the District of Hope, Fraser Health, United Way of British Columbia and Hope and Area Transition Society.

  • District of Hope - distributes funds and oversees the project and has established the leadership team.
  • Fraser Health - conducts training, education, and capacity building.
  • United Way B.C – provides overall project coordination (contracted Project Coordinator), leads the community engagement process and convenes the project leadership team.
  • Hope and Area Transition Society - manages and supports evening outreach staff, and provides harm reduction and other supplies and services to vulnerable persons.

4.  What is the timeline for this project?

This project is scheduled to run from December 2021 to April 2023 and can be broken down into three (overlapping) phases:

  • Pre-Community Engagement Phase (January 2022-April 2022) - In this phase, preliminary information is gathered to assess the needs and scope of services and care within the community.
  • Community Engagement Phase (April 2022 to September 2022) - This phase involves collaborative engagement of community stakeholders, community members and service providers to develop an understanding of issues, concerns and solutions regarding services for and care of homeless persons in the community.
  • Analysis and Reporting Phase (October 2022 to March 2023) - This is where the data and information gathered over the duration of the project is analyzed and reported on to the funder, community decision makers, community stakeholders and community members.

5.  Where does the funding for this project come from?

  • This project is funded through the Union of BC Municipalities with grant money from the BC Provincial Government and the Government of Canada. 1

6.  What is the funding for?

  • The majority of the funding will be spent on improving the level of support in the community. This in turn will improve the health and safety of the community, result in better coordination between services, and provide vital training to those in front line positions to make sure those who are experiencing homelessness are receiving trauma informed and culturally safe care by knowledgeable staff. 4 Funds will also be used to facilitate community engagement, analyze data and information and report to the community.

7.  How will this project help to improve the health and safety of the community?

This project will address the health and safety of the community in various ways,4 including:

  • Additional front line staff (evening outreach) to support clients in the community by redirecting them to services and off private property.
  • More hours towards contracted security.
  • Increased workers in the community after hours and more workers to pick up harm reduction supplies and safely dispose of them.
  • Increased access to medical services, supplies and hygiene products for homeless people.

8.  How can I be involved?

  • By participating in community engagement events. As Covid-19 restrictions and Fraser Health directives allow, community engagement events may take the form of:

○    On-line surveys

○    Qualitative interviews

○    Focus groups

○    Community dialogue sessions

○    On-line submissions via email

○    Facilitated training events to learn more about community members and how to approach people who are affected by trauma.

9.  Will homeless people be a part of the project?

  • Yes, the project will work with persons who have lived and/or living experience of homelessness

10. How does the Strengthening Hope Project differ from the proposed BC Housing Supportive Housing Project in Hope?

The proposed BC Housing Supportive Housing Project is a project of BC Housing, Fraser Health and Hope and Area Transition Society. Through this project BC Housing is executing its mandate to provide affordable social housing to low-income earners in BC. Fraser Health is similarly following its mandate to provide health care services to Fraser Region residents including those who are in need, not only of housing, but also of mental health and addiction services.

As the operator of the proposed supportive housing development, Hope and Area Transition Society is also following its mission to provide safe and caring supportive housing in order to reduce homelessness.

Different from the above stated, The Strengthening Hope Project focuses on ongoing community collaboration to provide coordinated training, capacity building, services, care and compassion to those in need in the community of Hope, inclusive of people who are homeless.


End Notes:

  1. The Project Leadership Team want community members to have their voices heard. Do not hesitate to reach out with constructive ideas, suggestions or questions.  The Project Coordinator can be reached by email: rvanwyk@uwbc.ca
  2. Community members are encouraged to become familiar with community-based services and resources and to compassionately assist vulnerable persons to connect with available services and resources in the interest of continuing to build a caring and healthy community.

 

 

 

 

 

References

 

1) Mulholland, L. (n.d.) Backgrounder: Local projects supported by strengthening communities service program. Ministry of Municipal Affairs. https://www.llbc.leg.bc.ca/public/pubdocs/bcdocs2021_2/722524/722524_BG_StrengtheningCommunitiesServices.pdf

2) Fraser Valley Regional District. (2020). 2020 Homeless count and survey report.

https://www.fvrd.ca/assets/About~the~FVRD/Documents/Homelessness/2020%20Homeless%20count%20and%20survey%20report.pdf

3) Welsh, E. (2022, January 28). Community consultation key to Hope’s homelessness project. The Hope Standard. https://www.hopestandard.com/news/community-consulation-key-to-hopes-homelessness-project/

4) District of Hope. (2021, March 22). Regular meeting of council agenda. https://hope.ca/sites/default/files/2021-03-22_regular_council_agenda_package_0.pdf