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A few months ago, SSSBC received a call from a homeless shelter about Jessica. Jessica is an independent 70-year-old and uses a scooter to accomplish daily activities. She lives with multiple health conditions limiting her mobility and necessitating housing that allows full use of her scooter, elevators, and access to social programs. In March 2021, Jessica tested positive for COVID-19 after being admitted to the hospital for flu-like symptoms. After staying in the hospital for over a month and testing negative, she was not welcome to return to her rental apartment because she had COVID-19, and other residents were paranoid. Upon her discharge from the hospital, Jessica was at risk of being homeless. Due to limited pension income, exorbitant rental prices, and the uniqueness of her housing requirements, Jessica struggled to find housing on short notice, resulting in a shelter stay.
The SSSBC Outreach Worker assessed Jessica’s unique housing needs. They determined that she met SSSBC’s Temporary Housing Program (THP) requirements and moved her into a unit that met her daily living needs. In a few short weeks, our Outreach Staff built a trust relationship with Jessica. They helped to apply for subsidies to secure her finances and created a budget for income and spending. They connected her to LinkAges, SSSBC’s digital literacy program to increase her confidence in technology, allowing her to research local social and support programs, find housing options, and connect with friends and relatives.
Today, Jessica has been permanently housed in a community of her choosing, thanks to the THP Program. When it was time to transition from THP, the Outreach Worker arranged for movers, a damage deposit, and furniture to start her new permanent home. Jessica was incredibly grateful and in a letter, thanked her Outreach Worker for helping her through this “horrifying” situation, stating, “There is no doubt in my mind; he saved my life.”
* A fictional name has been used to protect the identity of our client.
** THP, funded by BC Housing, is a one-of-a-kind program in BC, that provides short-term emergency accommodation in a fully furnished studio and one-bedroom apartments for older adults facing an immediate housing crisis. While staying in THP, clients are connected to an outreach worker who supports them to find safe and secure permanent housing. THP units are located within four BC Housing buildings in Burnaby and New Westminster.
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