Launched by NWHCS in 2010, I’s On The Street is still going strong!
I’s on the Street is an award-winning outreach/support services program that engages homeless or at-risk-of-being-homeless persons into supervised employment cleaning the sidewalks/streets in front of local businesses. It is based on a proven model with 30 years of success in Metro Vancouver and is designed to serve as a “stepping stone” to regular employment.
Participants are first connected to the support services they need (i.e., shelter and housing, health and safety, addictions and mental health, employment, and job training), and once stabilized the focus is turned to social integration and enhancing self-worth through employment. Participants become empowered, building habits and attitudes needed to be self-supporting members of the community.
Living with mental health or addiction problems and/or finding oneself homeless is a stigmatizing and profoundly humiliating experience. Indeed, when individuals seek help they usually do so with a long list of issues that need attention. The I’s on the Street program helps by constructing a prioritized plan of action towards building stability. Then it is vital to work on their skills development through employment, which rebuilds confidence and self-respect.
Programs like I’s on the Street empower individuals to be self-reliant once again. The program starts with the belief that there is inherent dignity in any useful work that contributes to the betterment of the community. By interfacing with the community in roles in which they are valued instead of feared, they develop and enhance positive self-worth, which in turn better prepares them to function effectively in other areas of their lives.
Currently, I’s on the Street operates in the downtown business area of New Westminster, BC 3 days/week. It is a unique partnership between NWHCS and the Lookout Housing and Health Society with the financial support of the Downtown New Westminster Business Improvement Area (DBIA) and the Rotary. NWHCS gratefully acknowledges the support of all these partners. Funding is in place for this program until December 31, 2020.
There is also interest in expanding the program to other areas of New Westminster.
Funding required for a year-round program with two staff working 3-hour shifts:
$10,104/yr: Two days/week and the cost of supplies.
$14,655/yr: Three days/week and the cost of supplies.
Funding required for a 6-month seasonal or pilot program with two staff working 3-hour shifts:
$5052/yr: Two days/week with two staff working 3-hour shifts, and the cost of supplies.
$7,328/yr: 6-month program (April to September) Three days/week with two staff working 3-hour shifts, and the cost of supplies.