Acute housing needs in the Trail area is an ongoing challenge. (Photo by Cory Woodward on Unsplash)

Acute housing needs in the Trail area is an ongoing challenge. (Photo by Cory Woodward on Unsplash)

Trust funding for youth, homeless programs in Trail

Columbia Basin Trust announced 17 recipients in the latest cycle of its Social Grants Program

The housing facilitator at Career Development Services (CDS) in Trail meets with, on average, 100 people each year.

That is 100 individuals who are either homeless, episodically homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless with an eviction notice in hand. The demographic includes single mothers with infants, families and youth.

CDS’ recent $33,500 grant from Columbia Basin Trust (Trust) – to provide augmented and individualized support to community members experiencing acute housing needs – will help “Getting to Home” staff deal with the every-growing list of people in need.

“One of the biggest obstacles within the community is finding safe and affordable housing that is suitable for habitat,” says Gail Pighin, CDS’ data management coordinator.

“The GTH (Getting to Home) program has identified a need within the community for a supportive-type of housing facility which requires on-site supports for those individuals most struggling to maintain housing due to significant and concurrent health issues,” she explained.

“CDS recently opened a four-unit house with built in supports which was an instant success, but it definitely highlighted the need for other similar housing to be implemented within the community.”

The grant will be used specifically to deal with the individuals who are consistently homeless based on a number of issues such an ongoing and significant illness.

“The unique supports required to house those select few individuals who are very ill and often living in a state of homelessness goes beyond the scope of the current part time GTH housing facilitator,” Pighin said.

“The Trust funding will be utilized to put in place an interim Support Worker who can focus their attention primarily to those who need those extra supports and advocating.”

Also included in the Trust’s $965,000 grant cycle is the West Kootenay Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation.

Run from Kootenay Columbia Learning Centre – but open to youth throughout the West Kootenay – the program received $30,000 to deliver adventure-based alternative education that integrates clinical therapy and counselling.

The goal is to increase the rate of graduation for youth at-risk of leaving the mainstream school system before completing their high school diploma in the West Kootenay area.

In all, 17 projects were approved that “aim to improve the lives of Columbia Basin residents by addressing social issues.”

“Through projects like these, the Trust is supporting the efforts of community organizations to help Basin residents address challenges, and improve the quality of their lives,” said Aimee Ambrosone, Trust Director, Delivery of Benefits. “We applaud the tremendous dedication that people in our region put into aiding others—and we’re glad we can be there to support their efforts.”

The Social Grants program helps Basin residents rise above challenges in three significant areas including improving quality of life for vulnerable populations, like seniors or those living in poverty, helping children with mental health and developmental needs, and increasing the capacity of non-profit organizations in the social sector.

The Castlegar and District Community Services Society is one of the grant recipients. It will deliver support services and programming aimed at preventing homelessness, and will help people at risk of becoming homeless find and keep housing. Its project will also identify the issues that contribute to housing instability and homelessness, and begin to address them.

“We will work with clients to deal with the causes of homelessness and ensure that clients are connected with the appropriate resources to help put their lives back on track,” said Kristein Johnson, Executive Director. “We will provide outreach services and financial assistance—to a limit—for costs like rent and damage deposits and for other basic needs that help prevent homelessness.”

Another recipient is the Cranbrook Boys & Girls Club. It will offer an after-school program for children aged five to 12 that will encourage outdoor play and help build a long-lasting healthy lifestyle for participants.

“Opportunities for children to play, especially outdoors with other children, have been declining, while anxiety, depression and feelings of helplessness have risen,” said Lori McNeill, Executive Director. “Our new program will address these concerns by providing supervised care exclusively in outdoor spaces such as forests, lakes, rivers and parks in all four seasons.”

Another recipient is Arrow and Slocan Lakes Community Services. It will provide a range of anti-violence services for men in the Nakusp area, including outreach, education and counselling.

“Men were coming into our office asking for help and we didn’t have a program to address their needs,” said Tim Payne, Executive Director. “Our program aims to provide outreach and support to men involved in many diverse situations, discover what their needs are and connect them with the right resources to end the violence in their lives.”

Another recipient is the North Kootenay Lake Community Services Society. It will deliver a range of early intervention and prevention mental health programs in for youth in Kaslo.

“Living in a rural area can often mean limited access to resources and a social stigma associated with asking for help,” said Danielle Byers, Executive Director for North Kootenay Lake Community Services Society. “This project has many benefits. It will help connect our youth with the help they need sooner and it also shows our youth that their input is valued and their ideas are supported in our community.” .

For more information about the program, visit ourtrust.org/socialgrants. To learn all the ways the Trust supports social well-being in the Basin, visit ourtrust.org/social.

Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit ourtrust.org or call 1.800.505.8998.