EFRY Annual Report | A Place to Call Home
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A Place to Call Home

CREATING OPPORTUNITY

Many of EFry’s initiatives help create the opportunity for clients to successfully build stable lives for themselves and their families. Helping clients find housing, access basic necessities, create social connections, recover from addiction and address the issues that lead to instability form the core purpose of these programs.

A PLACE TO CALL HOME

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SHELTER

The face of homelessness in the Lower Mainland is changing – in age. Seniors and children form a steadily growing portion of clients in our shelters. In just three years, the number of homeless women we serve who are between 50 and 64 has grown by 18 per cent. The number of women over 65 has jumped by 50 per cent.

Families are another growing segment of homeless clients. Thirty-two per cent of those staying in our shelters are children.

Collectively, EFry’s shelters operate at capacity year-round. We are now working with a consultant to explore options for combining our two Surrey shelters, Cynthia’s Place and Sheena’s Place, so we can maintain our staff-client ratios and increase the number of beds without additional staffing costs. Between our Surrey shelters and Elizabeth Gurney House in New West, we provided shelter for 391 homeless women and 123 children. Demand far outstrips supply; however, when someone comes to stay at an EFry shelter, we don’t ask them to leave after a prescribed length of time. We work to help them until they are housed, ideally in their own communities where they can tap into the support and social connection of family and friends.

EFry’s supportive approach to helping clients enables women to address factors linked to their homelessness, as well as find affordable housing at social assistance rates in areas like Surrey where there is limited housing stock. This differs from the increasingly popular Housing First model that moves homeless people directly into housing without requiring attention to the challenges that led to homelessness in the first place. While awaiting housing, EFry assists women in connecting with community services for issues such as mental health, addictions, medical care, financial needs and reconnecting with family members. In this way, when housing becomes available, women are ready for the opportunity.

TOP THREE THINGS PEOPLE SEEK AT EFRY SHELTERS:

 

1. HOUSING

2. FINANCIAL & HEALTH SERVICES

3. FAMILY REUNIFICATION

TRANSITIONAL HOUSING

Columbia Place is what many people call a halfway house. This women-only transitional housing program enables women on parole to complete their sentence while preparing for their long term future of employment or caring for their family. Columbia Place allows children to reside with their mothers. Residents are provided support in ensuring they are well established with community relationships, employment, caring for family and permanent housing. As well, we assist in connecting residents with community supports like medical and mental health services. Thirty-six women stayed at Columbia, 84 per cent of whom completed their parole requirements during the year.

 

Sue Bush, right, retired after
25 years with EFry.

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POST RELEASE HOUSING

Finding a place to live right after release, and getting support in making the adjustment, can mean the difference between successfully transitioning to community life and ending up in situations that can lead back to incarceration. EFry offers three small programs designed to help women leaving prison. One program ensures they have the identification needed to access provincially funded medical care and social assistance, the second helps with settling legal matters and the third focuses on housing and/or addictions treatment after release. The Integrated Offender Management Program and Homelessness Intervention Project – also known as IOM/HIP – is a unique program funded by BC Corrections and BC Housing for inmates with mental health issues, addiction and long criminal records to ensure they remain stable in the community. After a successful two-year pilot, the program became a permanent offering at institutions around the province this May. Thirty-two women were housed and supported in the community through IOM/HIP in 2014.

APARTMENTS FOR WOMEN WITHOUT RESOURCES

Pathways is a program in our head office building which provides women without resources with a small apartment while they look for permanent affordable housing in the community. Eight women stayed with Pathways this year.

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SENIORS AND CHILDREN ARE FORMING A STEADILY GROWING PORTION OF CLIENTS IN OUR SHELTERS.

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