Lookout Emergency Aid Society solves homelessness one person at a time
More than 1,100 people are housed by the Lookout Society. Despite the large number of individuals served, the society focusses on solving homelessness one person at a time.
We proviide a broad range of housing - 221 shelter beds, as many as 107 extreme weather shelter spaces, 172 transitional housing units, 617 supportive/permanent housing units - to serve people and their various needs. As well as housing, a vital component leading to individual successes are the programs and services we offer the people we serve, assisting them to regain and maintain stability in their lives, help them make healthier choices and work towards a greater quality of life.
Unfortunately there is no lack of homeless individuals to fill Lookout's beds, living units and programs. In 2012-13, Lookout provided 63,166 bednights in our four shelters (North Shore, New Westminster and two in Vancouver) with 2,926 individuals served. In addition to providing a place to sleep and program support, we also served up an incredible 185,523 meals.
At Lookout we find turning away individuals to be unacceptable, yet we are forced to as demand exceeds supply. For every person sheltered, we turned away people 16,905 times in 2012-2013, a 52% increase from the previous year.
Transitional housing bridges people into permanent housing solutions which meet the needs of the individual. Despite having 166 units at six sites, waitlists are long and finding places for people to move to is an issue. We housed a total of 235 individuals this past year, including 62 new tenants. As usual, tenants have come from a variety of referral sources. This year 34 individuals (55% of all new tenants) came directly from emergency shelters – a small increase over 10% last year. Others came from the street (11%), unsupported housing (8%), supported (10%), residential facility (10%) and relatives (5%).
In 2012-2013 we were able to provide permanent housing to 670 individuals – 527 (79%) men and 143 (21%) women.
This year 13 (11%) people ended up in shelters despite all our efforts to maintain their housing. Many of our residents live with addictions, and 13 people (10.7%) were able to be placed into treatment while 14 (11.5%) went to stay with family/friends. Health conditions are increasingly a factor amongst residents with 28 (23%) individuals leaving because an increased level of care was needed – 11 because of physical health and 11 for mental health and six for addictions.
Lookout Society outreach workers served 3,256 unique individuals this past year, averaging slightly more than five hours per person. This included 1,066 individuals we helped in combination with other Lookout programs, including 811 in our shelter programs. Of the 811, a total 203 folks stayed at multiple shelters, while 608 were stable at a single shelter.