24/7 Safe Supportive Housing
The Safe Suites program offers 24/7 support to young people ages 18-25 who are transitioning from the streets to safe housing. This program is intended to support youth with complex mental health or substance use concerns. Youth residing at Safe Suites A Way Home Kamloops provides 24/7 staffing to promote stabilization and wellness. The young people who come to the Safe Suites find open doors and opportunities to connect that relate to their experience. Case Managers work with the young people to develop tailored wellness plans and support them in achieving their goals. Youth will access a full range of training and supports so long-term housing options may be achievable with no past housing experience. A Way Home Kamloops is currently in phase 1 of the project, which is a communal housing setting. We are actively looking for land to roll out phase 2 of Safe Suites, which will include 10 units for the most vulnerable in our community.
A Way Home Kamloops provides a continuum of housing options for youth ages 16-25 who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness. This includes a combination of transitional and permanent supportive housing options in scattered site locations. A Way Home Kamloops will take out a lease on a rental and the youth moves in as a program participant. The youth receives a Case Manager and are supported to gain “adulting” life-skills that will help them achieve developmental milestones such as education or employment. At the end of the year, youth have an opportunity to take over a lease and have a permanent home. Additionally, Kamloops Native Housing Society provides housing in partnership with A Way Home Kamloops.
Wraparound Housing Supports for Youth
YOUTH HOUSING FIRST
In 2015, A Way Home Kamloops founded the Wrapforce, which is a youth-specific centralized housing and supports intake system. The Wrapforce includes fifteen community partners who have coordinated services to ensure there are no wrong doors for youth experiencing homelessness. Youth can walk into any of these organizations and will be connected to a Youth Homelessness Champion who will complete their intake for community housing and supports through the Wrapforce. Youth are provided housing and receive an inter-agency team that will provide wraparound supports to promote housing sustainability.
Community Supported Youth Housing
KAMLOOPS YOUTH HOUSING FIRST WRAPFORCE
A Way Home Kamloops operates from a
“Youth Housing First” philosophy:
1) Youth voice comes first and we honor the lived expertise of every young person in the program. We operate from a youth-led philosophy with “nothing about us, without us.”
2) Youth are provided choice in different housing options that will best meet their individual needs. Some youth may require more supportive options, while others desire more independent housing.
3) Youth are provided an array of wraparound supports through A Way Home Kamloops and our community partners. This includes social, emotional, physical, mental, and opportunities to gain education and employment.
4) Programs are flexible and each youth receives a Case Manager who works with each individual to achieve their wellness plan goals.
5) Interdependence is a core value of our program. It is unrealistic to imagine a youth transitioning to independence with no supports. Our goal is to integrate youth into community where they have a sense of belonging and connection that will last the end of time.
Youth Support Programs
Peer Support Navigating Employment & Education Services
A Way Home Kamloops provides an education and employment program that is youth-led where support is provided by a Peer Navigator with lived expertise and an Education & Employment Committee from the community. Thompson Rivers University provides full tuition bursaries for youth in A Way Home Kamloops housing. The Peer Navigator supports youth in completing school applications, university tours, connecting to faculty mentors, accommodations support, a weekly homework club, and ongoing navigation for educational success. Additionally, the Peer Navigator supports youth with their employment goals including resume building, job search, interview skills, and connecting to employers who are offering supportive employment opportunities for A Way Home Kamloops youth.
AWHK works with young people with lived expertise of homelessness who are passionate about making a change in the community to develop programs and projects. Currently, AWHK is working on establishing a youth committee to guide the development and implementation of programs that will take place at the new "Katherine's Place".
Youth-Led Solutions to Youth Homelessness
"LIGHT THE WAY" CONFERENCE
A Youth-Led Youth Homelessness Solutions-Focused Conference
A Way Home Kamloops is leading the development of part 2 of a provincial Youth-Led Youth Homelessness Conference. This is a program where youth are gaining skills in event planning, teamwork, collaboration, leadership, public speaking, marketing, and organization. Youth meet on a weekly basis to put together the conference that will be hosted in September 2022. The primary audience for this conference is decision-makers such as government employees and elected officials. Through this event we will again bring together youth with lived expertise with government to collaborate on the development of a provincial plan to end youth homelessness.
A Way Home Kamloops manages a weekly Youth Services Hub on Wednesdays from 2:00pm to 4:00pm; where youth experiencing homelessness can connect with service providers, income support, and other resources that will support wellness.
Drop-In Youth Supports Provided By Community
LIFE SKILLS PROGRAM
Adulting skills & wellness plans for youth
The Life Skills program is a crucial component for young adults to learn skills that are pivotal for their success in living independently. Our Life Skills program covers a wide range of topics such as self development, professional development, Physical and Mental Health, housing and more. This program includes both formal and informal learning, group workshops, and one on one learning opportunities as well as including support from community partners. We offer a flexible schedule that is integrated into our housing programs that includes different seasonal activities and outings to encourage healthy habits, hobbies and relationships. Our goal is to facilitate an inclusive program that meets youth where they are at, while working towards their own individual developmental goals and fostering overall success of the youth in our care.
Provincial Plan Coordination
BC COALITION TO END YOUTH HOMELESSNESS
Working Together Across BC To End Youth Homelessness
In 2017, A Way Home Kamloops co-founded the BC Coalition to End Youth Homelessness and co-chairs. This coalition involves over 40 members from across BC who are dedicated to developing a Youth-Led, BC-Led provincial plan to end youth homelessness. The Coalition meets on a monthly basis to develop projects and research to end youth homelessness.