The answer to homelessness is housing; however it is rarely housing alone. Other supports are needed to address all the issues which contribute to a person’s housing challenge. These issues may include addictions, mental or physical health issues.
In support of the Housing First Support Program Homeward Trust officially started on April 1, 2009, Homeward Trust provides a number of services to teams and clients including:
1. Training and Support for Housing First Teams
Homeward Trust is committed to helping its partners and funded agencies succeed. An essential component for success is training and education for Housing First workers.
Regular sessions cover topics such as the core concepts of Housing First, Aboriginal diversity and motivational interviewing.
2. Rental Assistance Program
Homeward Trust coordinates a rental assistance program for Housing First clients in need. While clients pay the majority of their costs, many need assistance for a period of time while they transition to independence.
Clients are currently living in more than 800 supported units across Edmonton and the Capital region.
3. Efforts to Outcomes
Efforts to Outcomes (ETO) is used to track client data and progress and to report to Human Services, Government of Alberta, on the progress being made locally to end homelessness. A case management tool, ETO allows front line workers to record their case notes and is the Homeless Information Management System implemented in Edmonton. In addition to reporting, it provides us with a better understanding of our clients’ demographics, needs and how we can better serve them.
To better support clients when they move into housing, Homeward Trust operates a furniture market. Relying primarily on donations from citizens and corporations, Find provides essential furnishings free of charge to the client.
After intake, and prior to moving into housing, a client will visit Find with a support worker. Together, they choose furniture such as couches, kitchen supplies and other essentials, which are then delivered to their new home as close to moving day as possible. These donations, and the ability to provide furniture free of charge, are critical components to ensuring clients remain successfully housed. By eliminating this start-up cost, we reduce the financial stress that would otherwise accompany the move.
In 2011 Find became a social enterprise. It continues to serve clients, but also sells furniture to the public, re-investing the proceeds back into housing and support programs.