Peer Housing Support Program

The Peer Housing Support Project is a community driven initiative, dedicated to providing transitional support, and a sense of community and belonging, to people transitioning from homelessness into stable living; whether that be supportive or independent housing. The Peer Housing Support Project is a partnership between Peers, Peer Supporters, the Coalition, and participating housing organizations.

Core Functions

  1. Assistance in daily management
  2. Social and emotional support
  3. Links to professional support and community resources
  4. Ongoing support, extended over time

Peer Support Workers

As people with lived experiences of homelessness, Peer Support Workers assist peers in navigating available resources, and providing a sense of guidance, community and belonging throughout the transition process. There are currently 5 Peer Support workers, 2 of whom identify as Indigenous. The Coalition and the participating housing organization, connect and facilitate an introductory relationship between the Peer Support Worker, and the peer, as well as set ground rules and expectations for the relationship. 

 

Peer Support Workers support Peers through the different stages of the transitional housing process: 

Advisory Committee

Alongside Peer Support Workers, the Peer Support Housing Advisory Committee regularly monitors and evaluates the development and progress of the Peer Housing Support Project. All members of the Advisory Committee are persons with lived experiences of homelessness. They seek to strengthen and demonstrate the value of the lived experience voice of knowledge, while helping other people with lived experiences of homelessness cultivate stable homes and lives.

Partners

Partner Agencies, also known as Participating Housing Organizations, are typically organizations that work with individuals experiencing homelessness, to secure housing. Partner organizations are integral in identifying suitable peers for the Peer Support Housing Program. The Coalition’s Community Outreach Manager communicates with the partnering organizations to identify potential peers, and then the matching process between the Peer and the Peer Support Worker begins.

“Social isolation remains one of the most detrimental aspects of living in the private market for individuals moving from homelessness. Its disruption is critical to the success of most clients.  And it is this isolation that the Peer housing support project can most effectively impact. In a short period of time it has become very clear how essential the work of the Peer Supporters has been to the Streets to Homes Program and its clients. The contribution has been nothing short of amazing in regard to the connection and subsequent wellness that this project has brought to individual clients who would have continued to otherwise struggle. I can only hope that this project becomes a robust program and that the services of this amazing team can be offered to many more clients in need.” 

 Chris Forester, Manager of Outreach Services, Pacifica Housing

Toolkit

The Peer Housing Support Project Toolkit is a manual developed by the Coalition, to help communities create their own peer housing support programs. The toolkit includes training resources, and information about the program’s framework. As of September 31st 2018, the toolkit has been fully updated.

To receive a copy of the Peer Housing Support Toolkit, contact the Community Outreach Manager for more information.

In Crisis?:

If you require urgent emotional support, including having thoughts of suicide and other mental health issues, please call Vancouver Island Crisis Line: 1-888-494-3888.

Youth (under 25 years of age) may access youthspace.ca for online emotional support.

For other resources, including shelter availability, visit bc211.ca