24/7 Safe Supportive Housing
The Safe Suites are a bridge from the survival of the streets to housing with supports for young people ages 18-25 with complex mental health or substance use concerns. 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. Thompson Rivers University provides five full tuition bursaries a year 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.
YOUTH AGAINST YOUTH HOMELESSNESS (YAYH)
YAYH is a group of twelve young people with lived expertise of homelessness who are passionate about making a change in community. This group received a national youth engagement award for their innovative work to provide peer support and advocate for systems change. YAYH is working on a web-book about the lived experiences of youth called “Paiges of Hope” and have been involved in national and provincial policy development initiatives. YAYH meets on a weekly basis at A Way Home and incorporates: a “big” social event for youth in community, a “smaller” social event, a community engagement/give back session, and life-skills education.
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 a provincial Youth-Led Youth Homelessness Conference. This is a work experience 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 launched later in 2020. The primary audience for this conference is decision-makers such as government employees and elected officials. Our hope is to 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 Thursdays 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
Community & Provincial Plan Coordination
A WAY HOME KAMLOOPS COMMITTEE
Implementing Kamloops' Youth Homelessness Action Plan
In 2013, A Way Home Kamloops was the first community to develop and implement a youth-specific homelessness action plan. A Way Home Kamloops has since evolved into a charitable non-profit and now acts as the backbone organization guiding the implementation of our community plan to prevent and end youth homelessness. There are over 200 members from all sectors that are working collaboratively to eradicate youth homelessness in our community through systems change.
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 via tele-conference on a monthly basis and provides a bi-monthly report to the Homelessness Action Plan Leads on different provincial ministries roles and responsibilities related to youth homelessness. Additionally, the Coalition has supported the development of a First Voices (lived expertise) report that will include recommendations for a provincial plan to end youth homelessness in BC.