Community Support Programs
The Community Trustee Program is an eviction prevention support program that serves vulnerable members of society who need help stabilizing their housing and budgeting their funds. This past year (2019), the program served a total of 277 clients: 128 of those were men, 72 were women, 11 couples, and a total of 55 children. The program took on 47 new individual clients this year. Clients are referred to the program for a variety of reasons by government agencies, at the request of landlords or by personal request and we tailor our services on an individual basis depending on individual needs.
Some of the ways in which we support our clients include:
• Advocating on behalf of clients when they face challenges with utilities or landlords. We also help ensure that necessary paperwork is completed for caseworkers and other government agencies. We work towards stabilizing living conditions and reducing obstacles that prevent our clients from securing and maintaining housing.
• Helping in the face of crises and ensuring that our door is always open to clients when they need assistance.
• Being proactive and fostering connections with the clients we serve.
• Referring clients to various community organizations to improve their living situations and personal well-being.
As individuals transition to independent housing, our Housing Support program assists with locating and maintaining housing and reducing the potential risks for re-entering homelessness. Regular visits provide the opportunity for former guests to address the underlying causes of past trauma, which have often been a contributing factor in their experience of homelessness. In addition to monthly scheduled visits, former emergency shelter guests supported by the program often seek assistance navigating crises; request advocacy for tenant related concerns as well as landlord concerns; assistance with food security; employment, and programming.
Our ability to foster healthy and positive relationships with property owners and managers better position our Housing Support team to aid guests in receiving the interventions and resources that they need on their journey to exit homelessness permanently. With immediate needs met, people are able to move forward in seeking employment, education, volunteer endeavors, or other areas which bring fulfilment and contribute to overall health and wellness.
Our Community Support Programs are made possible through the support of a dedicated team that includes two community trustees, two intensive case managers, three housing support workers and three social workers. Their efforts are grounded in the Housing First Principles, which believe that everyone deserves the stability of a permanent home. A home is the foundation needed for individuals to begin addressing their issues...the issues that led them to their housing instability in the first place
Shelter Nova Scotia also coordinates "Move Out Packages" with the aim to house our clients with furniture and all the necessities for living independently. We are able to do this only through donations from the community.