Homelessness

City of Abbotsford releases video series on homelessness strategy

Abbotsford Stories Project highlights strategy, referral program and story of one woman’s experience

The City of Abbotsford is releasing a series of videos to highlight the creation of Abbotsford’s homelessness prevention and response system, along with the development of the co-ordinated intake and referral (CIR) program.

The city received a $400,000 grant from Service Canada to develop the CIR program, which helps individuals experiencing homelessness, or who are at risk of homelessness to access services and supports, such as housing and health.

The program was developed in co-operation with housing and service providers, the Fraser Health Authority, B.C. Housing, and the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. The program has seen 387 individuals since its inception in September 2017, and Mayor Henry Braun told The News in August that he was seeing success in the program.

RELATED: Program to help homeless seeing success, Abbotsford mayor says

Three videos were uploaded to the City of Abbotsford’s “Abbotsford Stories Project” YouTube channel.

Titled Roadmap to Success, one three-minute video draws on the collaborative approach of the project through the homelessness prevention and response system roadmap drawn up by the city.

“All of the areas around homelessness in Abbotsford are identified in this roadmap and they’re put into specific areas, and individual stakeholders champion those areas,” says Vibrant Abbotsford co-ordinator Shakira Miracle in the video.

RELATED: Homeless referral program launched after years of work

“The end goal is that we have a vibrant and health community within Abbotsford.”

The intent is to provide an array of services, each catering to a niche need within the community, Megan Kriger, director of housing at Lookout Housing and Health Society, says in the video.

Another video looks specifically at the CIR program, speaking to the challenges of pulling oneself out of homelessness.

“Without a home, it’s really difficult to move forward in your life if someone’s struggling with barriers, if they have addiction, if they have mental health issues, if they’re seeking employment, if they don’t have ID. There’s so many barriers that not having a home produces,” Megan Capp, manager of Supported Housing, says in that video.

Finally, the third video looks at the story of Laina, and her struggles with addiction and homelessness, working the streets starting at the age of just 13 years old.

The videos can be found online at the Abbotsford Stories Project YouTube channel.

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Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

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