What exactly is housing navigation?
In three words, its stabilization, support, and direction. Most people understand housing navigation as a process of intake, assessment, and referral. In reality, it is much more.
67-year-old Joan** is facing eviction for the first time. Due to the landlord’s family member taking possession of her apartment, she was asked to move out in two months.
Joan currently receives $650 per month in pension supplemented by a part-time job. Unfortunately, Joan left her job due to health complications. At the time of her intake, Joan did not qualify for GIS, rendering it impossible for her to find suitable housing on a limited income.
The navigator’s role is to explore all the factors that might affect Joan’s housing viability. To start, Joan and the navigator began working to increase her income. Several phone calls to Service Canada and some paperwork later, Joan learned she qualified for an additional $1,300 per month. Due to her limited English proficiency and difficulty communicating with government agencies, Joan found a navigator very helpful.
While Joan’s income was stabilized, the navigator provided emotional support to foster hope and provide connections to local support.
Next, the navigator connected Joan with a credit counselor to manage her car loan, credit card debt and create a realistic budget to follow. Finally, the navigator helped Joan gather documents and fill out BC Housing forms to qualify for the SSSBC Temporary Housing program.
Navigators are the first line of contact for a senior like Joan who is at risk of becoming homeless. While Joan is well on her way to finding affordable housing and appropriate support, the navigator’s job is not quite finished. To ensure Joan remains housed and supported, navigators provide follow-up calls. It could take several months of Navigation support to help stabilize a client like Joan, however, SSSBC believes the navigator is a critical role for vulnerable seniors who desperately need housing in BC.
**A fictional name is being used to protect the privacy of our clients.