SUPPORT IN CRISIS?

“We’re still here”, no matter the weather

With the cold weather and snow settling into the Lower Mainland, those lucky enough to have a home are hunkering down in the warm.

But, thanks to the support of partners and donors, Coast’s teams continue to be there for folks that are unhoused or at-risk of homelessness.

Both the Resource Centre in Downtown Vancouver, and our Clubhouse in Mt Pleasant continue to open during the daytime, offering a warm place to shelter, showers, meals, and much more. Meanwhile, our outreach teams are working extra hard to ensure their clients are alright.

Outreach to those in need 

“Our teams are pulling out all the stops. We want people to know we haven’t forgotten about them just because of the weather. We’re still here.” says Jordana Moss, Outreach Manager at Coast.

“Many of the folks our Outreach team support don’t have phones or access to internet, this makes it increasingly difficult to connect with our clients and check in to provide services. Our teams are heading out to find them when they can, and our focus is making sure they’re going to be somewhere warm tonight. Many folks in the Lower Mainland aren’t accustomed to these kinds of temperatures so we’re educating them on the signs and risks of hypothermia and giving them clothing to help.”

Adding to these challenges are systemic issues like the extreme weather response shelters across the Lower Mainland only opening overnight; many are opening at around 7 or 8pm and many asking folks to leave as early as 6.30am.

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Lisa and Tiberih from Champlain Heights out enjoying the snow. Having a stable home means the recent snow can also leave space for fun moments to look forward to.

Daytime Drop-In Centres are a critical resource 

At a time like this, Coast’s Resource Centre has become an even more critical resource for people in need.

“We’ve had people lining up for up to half an hour before we open, desperate to get in from the cold.” says Mike Whitehead, Resource Centre Manager. “We’ve certainly seen an increase in people needing resources from us, and mealtimes are particularly busy. And our Better Together Peer Support Stewards are out there right now checking on folks in the streets, sharing resources, handing out hot drinks, socks, handwarmers… Just saying hello and letting them know we’re here.”

The Resource Centre is a drop-in centre open during the daytime Tuesday – Saturday, which offers access to basic services like warm showers, laundry, and affordable meals.

The Outreach team based out of the Resource Centre also helps connect folks with resources and services: “In the past seven weeks we’ve been able to source housing for five clients, which is incredible.” adds Jordana.

Permanent daytime hubs like our Resource Centre are critical at times like these.  But at Coast we believe people should be able to come inside and to access services no matter how extreme the conditions are.

 “We’re proud to provide the vital services we do at the Resource Centre and Coast Clubhouse two of very few such services, but it’s not enough. I’d love to see our Resource Centre open seven days a week with extended hours, and more drop-in centres like it across BC. We need comprehensive and integrated solutions that include  24/7 shelters, accessible daytime programs and services and permanent supportive housing.” says Keir Macdonald, CEO Coast Mental Health.

“No one should be forced to sleep outside.”

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Your donation to Coast Mental Health Foundation provides essential housing, support, and employment services for people with mental illness so they can find their meaningful place in our community – a place to live, a place to connect, and a place to work.