Collaborating to Provide Homelessness Services

For years, JFS has been working collaboratively with community members to shape programs and services. From the reports and recommendations of our Client Advisory Committee to the community dialogues that take place at our annual Homelessness Action Week events, the input of those with lived experience is vital to ensuring the efforts and donations of our community will have the greatest benefit for current and potential clients.

On October 23rd, 2023, JFS held a community dialogue on the impact and challenges people face when they are unhoused or at risk of losing their home. We engaged the community in guided art discussions on themes of what home is and what homelessness means for them.

Over 50 people attended our community dinner to share their stories, arts expressions, and a meal.

  • 60% of attendees were 65 and over
  • 100% of attendees lived in Vancouver
  • 72% identified as housing insecure
  • 20% identified as living in Canada less than 10 years

The highlight of the night was the shared understanding of what belonging and home feels like.

To the left are participants' descriptions of what home is. To the right are participant's description of what homelessness is.

Everyone engaged in a meaningful discussion on what people can do in their day-to-day life to combat the feelings they experience when their housing is not secure. Participants identified housing support groups as a way to address some of the anxiety, fear and loneliness some people experience when their housing is insecure.

"Attending the dinner and discussion made me realize that although my housing fits my physical needs, it doesn't fit my social needs and that is mostly why I wanted to find different housing. Finding a community where I feel welcomed and safe (like coming to the JFS Kitchen) and learning about other ways to feel connected has made a big difference on how I view my housing situation." – Older adult attendee

With this service gap identified, JFS will be able to develop a model for group/peer support for people experiencing housing insecurity.

In 2022, participants at our housing event helped us identify resources that would support them in their search for affordable housing. As a result, JFS created a self-directed digital and hardcopy Affordable Housing Search Toolkit and now holds bi-weekly workshops for people looking for affordable housing or needing assistance maintaining their current housing. We look forward to continuing our collaborative development of JFS Homelessness Services thanks to the new input from 2023 event participants.

Thank you to the attendees, volunteers, and facilitators who made the 2023 event a success. The evening was made possible through partnerships with West End Seniors Network and Tikva Housing Society, and with the generous support of The City of Vancouver, Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House, and Nava Catering.

Further Resources

You can learn more about JFS’ Homelessness Prevention Services on our Advocacy & Crisis Management page or with our Homelessness Prevention Services brochure.

If you are in need of JFS services, contact our Care Line.

To help provide these supports, donate online.

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