Lookout Housing and Health Society offers a wide range of health services and is at the forefront of establishing innovative programs. In response to the overdose epidemic which is devastating the region’s most vulnerable individuals, Lookout has increased health services across the Lower Mainland to reduce risk and increase awareness.
With the goal of providing more health services for guests across British Columbia, Lookout merged with the Mood Disorders Association of British Columbia (MDABC) in 2017. Both Lookout and MDABC have long histories of successfully serving vulnerable populations in multiple communities across the province. Bringing both organizations together provides an even greater continuum of services for guests in need of mental health supports. To learn more about the additional MDABC health services is available under the Lookout umbrella, please visit http://www.mdabc.net/.
Harm reduction is an approach or strategy aimed at reducing the risks and harmful effects associated with substance use and addictive behaviours for the individual, community and society as a whole. It is recognized as a realistic, pragmatic, humane and successful approach to addressing substance use issues. Lookout’s harm reduction practices extend beyond safer drug use and include safety planning with women who are involved in survival sex work, as well as providing blankets and other safety supplies to people who choose to sleep outdoors. Lookout’s harm reduction philosophy is fully integrated in every aspect of our continuum of services and builds on the desire to meet guests “where they are at”.
The Powell Street Getaway in Vancouver, Surrey’s SafePoint and the Harbour Centre in Victoria have been approved by Health Canada to deliver supervised consumption services. Additionally, Lookout operates a number of overdose prevention sites including the Duncan Wellness and Recovery Center and Mobile Health Contact Center in Abbotsford. Lookout’s harm reduction practices help prevent overdose deaths while engaging those who are vulnerable in other health care services, including mental health treatment and withdrawal management. In response to the opioid crisis, Lookout has increased access to harm reduction supplies and education, introduced peer-led substance use programs, and trained all staff in Naloxone reversals. These services have been implemented with support from Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health and Island Health.
Our Harm Reduction Programs
Lookout believes in the benefits of peer programming where individuals with lived experience can mentor others, bringing understanding and validity to the benefits of making safer life choices for people struggling with personal challenges. With staff support, peers complete required training and take on responsibilities. For peers, it is an opportunity to earn a stipend and build employment skills while renewing self-respect.
Our Peer-to-Peer Programs Include:
Healthy Food & Food Security
Lookout understands the importance of food security. After housing, a proper diet has one of the biggest impacts on a person’s health. With extremely low income and limited access to cooking facilities, many Lookout guests rely on free meals as the main food source. However, this food is often highly processed and high in carbohydrates, fat and sugar. For people in poverty, good nutrition can drastically improve their health but is expensive to maintain. Lookout sources food donations from local and organic vendors, including our Mission Minimum Garden, in order to use the freshest, most nutritious ingredients possible. Lookout also partners with local foodbanks, volunteers and community agencies to host weekly community kitchens at many Lookout residences where tenants learn how to cook nutritious low-cost meals.