Many British Columbians know all too well the difficulties of navigating the housing market and the ongoing rental crisis throughout the Metro Vancouver area. Finding a home becomes even more difficult for those who are in the process of overcoming additional barriers, such as chronic homelessness, poverty, substance use and more.
At Mission Possible (MP), we transform lives through meaningful work using an inclusive lens, helping individuals navigate complex life challenges so they can create lasting change for themselves and their communities. Throughout the years, MP staff have recognised a trend amongst many of our Associates: a need for housing stability and access to suitable long-term housing.
Accessing the various affordable and social housing resources and rental assistance programs provided by organisations and the provincial government is an overwhelming and complicated process. As an organisation that understands how challenging it can be to secure employment while facing housing insecurity and the fact that many individuals in our Employment Readiness Program (ERP) have reported MP to be a ‘safe space’, we recognised that we were in a unique position to help.
Mission Possible’s Employment Readiness Program offers wrap-around support services, including 1:1 coaching, workshops and skills training. In January 2022, MP took the step of adding additional wraparound support to ERP participants via a Housing Support Coordinator, laying out the groundwork for consistent, stable and predictable support services.
Since the introduction of Mission Possible’s Housing Support service, 32 Associates accessed housing support and 34 applications for housing have been completed!
Additionally, many MP Associates have already achieved major wins with the help of MP’s Housing Support Coordinator, including:
1 MP Associate received a grant from Vancouver Rent Bank, preventing their eviction from their much-loved home.
2 MP Associates were offered permanent subsidized housing, meeting their needs of having a clean, safe, and affordable place to call home.
1 MP Associate successfully applied for, and began receiving, a monthly rent subsidy, thereby improving their housing security.
To better understand the impact of this resource, one MP Associate offered to share his story about the challenges he faced searching for secure housing and the impact the Housing Support Program has had on his journey.
Scott is an MP Associate who first attended a Housing Support Information Session in early May 2022. He has returned every week since.
Scott currently lives in an SRO hotel that he describes as just a place to sleep rather than a home. Scott praised the Mission Possible Housing Support Coordinator’s unique approach and willingness to help individuals facing a range of housing insecurity issues, focusing purely on long-term housing solutions. He shared that this approach is distinct because it is willing to consider personal preferences that drastically improve feelings of home, safety, security and comfort.
Moreover, Scott appreciates that this housing support occurs “in-house” at Mission Possible, and that having this wrap-around support as a “one-stop-shop” enhances feelings of comfort and community and makes access easier.
While Scott says applying for housing would be impossible alone, mainly due to the barriers he faces in accessing the required technology to do so, he said that it is surprisingly easy with the support of the Housing Support Coordinator. While completing applications, Scott encountered stumbling blocks that likely would have stopped him from continuing if he did not have access to the Housing Support Coordinator, who was able to help him overcome these barriers.
As you can imagine, having suitable, stable housing will drastically change Scott’s life. Once out of an SRO, Scott said he would feel more like himself. When he moves, he will have access to his belongings that are currently in storage, which would allow him to engage in meaningful self-care practices and traditions that add richness to his life. Additionally, having a bathroom and kitchen would drastically improve his physical and mental health. Lastly, he lit up when describing how he would like to host his family for dinner one day. Keeping this vision in mind motivates Scott to show up consistently in his search for long-term, affordable housing.
Although Scott has not received any housing offers (yet!), he says the impact of attending Housing Support Sessions has been tremendous on his mental, emotional and physical well-being. He describes the process of learning about different housing options and submitting applications as inspiring and that it has increased his hopes of being able to improve his living conditions.
Simply put: Adequate, stable housing provides individuals across all socioeconomic levels with safety and security, providing a solid foundation for social, emotional, physical and financial growth.
At Mission Possible, we believe that everyone deserves a safe, comfortable and dignified home that they can use as a secure base to pursue empowerment in other areas of their lives.