Transitional housing an important step
Transitional housing is a crucial step towards the Lookout Society's goal of providing solutions to homelessness. This type of housing provides longer term housing – up to two years – for individuals who have experienced repeated homelessness.
This allows us to support and assist individuals over a longer period of time so their health and social needs can be addressed, resulting in a greater level of stability to their lives.
That's important because our experience shows people with multi-barriers to housing need up to two years to build skills needed to successfully transition to more independent and permanent housing. Our transitional housing focuses on resident-centered services provided in a non-judgmental environment.
The need for this kind of housing is intense and urgent. Many of Lookout's clientele have a history of homelessness, particularly absolute homelessness, and it takes them time for them to stabilize their lives. Once that is accomplished they can be taught life skills that break the cycle of homelessness and poverty.
Lookout Society provides 202 transitional units . In 2013-14, 649 people were served through Lookout's transitional housing. There are long wait lists of clients trying to enter all of our buildings. Our transitional housing is located in Downtown Vancouver at the Sakura So building and Hazelton Residence, the Yukon in Central Vancouver, the North Shore Housing and at New Westminster's Cliff Block and The Russell.
A heritage building, the Sakura So is a rooming house providing 38 units of housing in single, not self-contained units, (commonly called single resident occupancy or SRO rooms) in the Downtown Eastside. This building is uniquely suitable to its intended purpose: providing supportive, transitional housing for people leaving emergency shelters.
Yukon's 37 transitional housing units are mandated to support high-risk individuals who have few if any housing options.
Some clients go through repeated housing crises and need more time than a shelter can provide to gain improved health and work towards addressing their issues.
To meet these people's needs, Lookout has co-located 37 self-contained suites of transitional housing above the Yukon Shelter, taking advantage of the cost effectiveness derived from an integrated housing model.
These housing units accommodate individuals who can live independently but benefit from support and assistance in developing basic life skills.
The Hazelton Residence is a 39-bed housing resource located above the Al Mitchell Place Shelter. The residents are adults and seniors who have few if any housing options and a chronic history of homelessness. Although this housing is transitional, the increased needs and reduced resources have meant significantly longer stays.
Staff are on duty throughout the days and evening, seven-days-a-week and shelter staff provide the emergency back up and support to residents when the Tenant Support Workers are not on duty.
In April 2005 Lookout opened our North Shore Residence, providing 25 units of housing for chronically homeless North Shore residents who require higher levels of assistance over a sustaining period to bring a greater level of stability to their lives. The aim of supported transitional housing is to bridge people in permanent housing solutions that meet the needs of the individual. The bridge that we provide is comprised of consciousness raising, skill development, barrier identification and problem solving, social integration and the healing effects of a tenant-centered, non-judgmental and caring environment.
The Cliff Block is a four-storey heritage rooming house located in the heart of New Westminster and near appropriate services.
The Cliff Block provides 23 units of minimal barrier, supportive housing in Downtown New Westminster for high risk homeless men and women having few, if any, housing alternatives, who are also unable to meet their own basic needs and not able to access communal living options.
BC Housing purchased the venerable three-storey College Place Hotel in downtown New Westminster on January 11, 2008. This purchase saved a significant heritage building and retained affordable housing in New Westminster.
Lookout has partnered with BC Housing by managing the housing, located on the top two floors.
The Russel Housing Centre offers 40 long-stay housing units, a combination of long term and transition housing.