Aboriginal Housing Advocates
Imagine being homeless and every time you see a vacancy for an apartment, the landlord takes one look and says, “We’re full.” But this isn’t the Christmas story, it’s real life for so many Family members — especially the over 30-per-cent of the Our Place community who identify as Aboriginal.
To help our Aboriginal Family members get the hand-up they deserve, Our Place — with the assistance of a grant from the Homelessness Partnering Strategy — has hired two Aboriginal Housing Support workers.
Eddie Mack and Derek Book bring a wealth of experience in connecting people with the resources they need to better manage their lives.
“We see a lot of family disruption,” says Derek about the Family members he works with. “Once they leave the reserve, all of their support network is gone.”
For Derek and Eddie, that means working one-on-one with couples, families and individuals to create a case plan from the ground up.
“Some of the people we work with haven’t seen their kids in a couple of months, they need I.D., want to get into treatment, or need help navigating the system,” says Derek.
“It can beat you down,” he adds. “When you face so many struggles, can’t find work, and a landlord won’t give you the time of day, it’s tough.”
Derek and Eddie know it takes a methodical approach — and a network of agencies — to get the job done, but so far, they’re seeing great success.
“We’ve housed over 20 Aboriginal people,” Derek says with a smile. “And that’s just in the last couple of months.”
Both Eddie and Derek have been impressed with the “atmosphere of welcoming” that they’ve seen at Our Place, and they invite everyone to seek them out in the Drop-In.
Video created by Camosun College students: Melissa Roberts and Matt O’Connor