Lookout Housing and Health Society provides non-judgmental, non-sectarian, services to adults who cope with a wide variety of challenges including mental illness, addictions, chronic health conditions (including HIV/AIDS), physical disabilities, social dysfunctions, legal concerns or more frequently a combination of issues. Currently, Lookout operates shelters, transitional, independent and permanent supportive housing, drop-in resource centres, outreach, and health services from our 32 sites in 11 municipalities.
Each Lookout site actively participates as members in local community advisory committees and neighbours to research, develop, plan, and educate the community about new and existing housing facilities and the management of day to day operations.
Lookout prides itself on a positive flow of tenants through the housing continuum from outreach, to emergency shelter, to transitional housing, to supportive housing and when achievable, market housing. In 2016-17, 67.6% of Lookout tenants made positive changes in their housing situations. Lookout tenant Support Workers assist residents moving towards independence through identifying needs, creating case plans and meeting personal housing goals. However, with limited access to social housing options, our tenants have difficulty moving beyond supportive housing.
Lookout’s Programs Include:
Transitional housing programs
Transitional housing options provide support, direction and assistance to individuals who require greater levels of assistance over an extended period to improve stability within their lives. These programs specifically target those having few housing alternatives, unable to meet their own basic needs and/or successfully access alternative housing. Lookout’s transitional housing programs also include several abstinence-based sober-living facilities.
Supportive housing units are subsidized permanent supportive self-contained homes for people who are chronically homeless. Staff work with residents to support their individual needs and provide assistance as needed. This can include offering housing for seniors or people with disabilities with chronic history of homeless who require support to maintain their independence.
Single Room Occupancy Hotels (SRO’s) provide affordable housing with private rooms and shared kitchens/bathrooms. These buildings are dedicated to housing people who are homeless and having few housing options, including those challenged to find or maintain self-contained housing. Some of these hotels are owned by the province and operated by Lookout. Others are partnerships where Lookout works with private owners to prevent the loss of the housing.
These programs are designed to assist people to access and maintain independent living, ending homelessness. One priority of Lookout is to help people stay housed in their home communities where they are close to services, families and friends. With continued support from our Outreach team, rent subsidies help to provide autonomy and stability. When an individual no longer needs the subsidy, the funds are used to help another person secure housing.
24-hour, 365-day Emergency Shelters
Lookout shelters provide temporary accommodation and support to adults who have no immediate housing options. In addition to food and shelter, staff work with each guest to address issues affecting housing, finances, and health (e.g. mental, physical, addictions). This is carried out through case planning, referrals to specialty organizations, liaising with local services and connections to crisis counselling and health services. Our goal is to end homelessness one person at a time.
Our health services encompass a free medical clinic, non profit dental clinic, low-cost housing facility for people with HIV, women’s health specific programming, holistic mental health and addiction services, a high-protein supplemental food bank, a community garden and a support lounge for individuals infected and affected with blood-borne pathogens including HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis. We also provide medication management at most of our facilities and low barrier respectful harm reduction programming.
Powell Street Getaway, Front Room, Positive Haven
Resource Centres offer a range of structured and unstructured programs to encourage participation, particularly for those who are not already involved with the formal health system. A particular goal is to provide a safe space for people who are homeless or living in local rooming houses. Social and life-skills are worked on to help prevent housing disruptions. Peer programs are key to the success of our resource centres. Having people with lived experience greet new clients and take on roles within the centres provides a level of understanding and trust. The opportunity for peers to learn new skills and gain a sense of responsibilities thru meaningful activities is important to recovery and growth.
Outreach programs are based around intensive short-term case management and planning services for chronically homeless individuals. This type of intervention and support is often brought to the client where they are and is essential for our client’s well-being within the community. Outreach teams offer “bridging” services between the street, shelters and resource centres, collaborating with service/treatment providers to improve stability and the quality of their lives. Outreach workers also work to prevent homelessness by working with landlords and clients who are newly housed.
Lookout has several low-barrier, task-oriented peer programs and several peer-to-peer support programs across the organization. Our peer programs engage and noticeably enrich the lives of the peers and clients we serve. Our peer programs include a wide spectrum of opportunities for people with lived experience who wish to participate.
In recent years Lookout started several Social Enterprises to prepare clients for employment. Our Social Enterprises are designed to provide opportunities for participants to work together in teams so that they can foster lasting support networks among each other. As well we offer the Employment Navigator program, a 3-year pilot project with the Open Doors Group funded by the BC Centre for Employment Excellence. Located on the DTES, the program allows tenants to gain the skills necessary for meaningful activities and employment.
Activity and Lifeskill Programs
Activities and Lifeskills encourage individuals to develop and increase their self-care, socialization and pre-employment skills. By enhancing their self-esteem/confidence, they are able to access public resources and services more readily and increase their life satisfaction.