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Association of Neighbourhood Houses of British Columbia

West End Community Food Centre

Over a third of people in the West End of Vancouver live on a low and inadequate income and are food insecure. Historically society has responded to hunger (food insecurity) with charity, even though we know that quick fixes do not change the circumstances for people who are living in poverty. Gordon Neighbourhood House is working with partners to shift the conversation and action towards justice and away from charity. As a community, we have the power to spark long lasting changes, whether within our community or at a policy level, that ensure everyone’s right to good food by eliminating poverty. We do this work by bringing people together through food programs, dialogues, and training.

Sharing Homes and Lives; Aging, Affordability, and Happiness

Our project involves: 1. Convening seniors and their families, young people and youth leaving care, and other potential stakeholders, in order to understand their very diverse contexts and to begin (a) articulating a value-base and vision that will ground how shared lives models are to be conceived and supported, (b) imagining and co-designing variants to life-sharing models that would fit individual's own, diverse circumstances, (c) beta-testing things like risk-sharing agreements, matchmaking/meetup formats and events, new screening and monitoring frameworks, and so on. 2. Investigating match-making services and algorithms to prototype more effective matching tools than conventional application and assessment processes 3. Designing the right infrastructure/container that will support these activities, including the roles, policies, practices and technology components. 4. Investigating the power of peer-to-peer models like Air BnB and Uber in order to see how these sorts of emerging solutions might apply or be adapted to our context, Through these sorts of activities, we (1) change the ownership of the model and begin to build participation in a movement (2) create an opportunity to build a new discourse around risk that we jointly share and mitigate, (3) create diverse solutions and models; (4) establish policy and infrastructure AFTER we know what works, versus services patterned after existing policies and system cultures.

An Arts Hub for South Surrey: Engaging Community Through the Arts

The Media Room is a recently refurbished, fully accessible,1800 square foot space located in a heritage building at Camp Alexandra. Our vision is to re-purpose this space by providing equipment and resources to transform it into a venue for arts collaboration, creation, and presentation. This would include audio/visual equipment, display stands, drop sheets, drawing tables, and easels; as well as providing supplies in our crafts room for use by children and youth. Working with the artists and networks with whom we have established relationships, we will populate this space with artists committed to collaborating on projects aimed at social transformation. In keeping with our commitment to hearing the voices of those affected by oppression and marginalization; initially, there will be a specific focus on attracting artists who identify as newcomer Canadians and LGTBQ elders and youth - populations who have self- identified as needing support in our growing and changing community. The collaborative projects created through this facilitation would be presented under the auspices of Alex House. Our intention would be to work with the artists to organize and promote public events, connecting them to a larger engagement strategy. Rather than be an end-in-itself, Alex House would subsequently follow-up by supporting participant-led programs and activities aimed at creating change around the issue highlighted by the performance or installation.

Mount Pleasant Food Recovery Project

Research the feasibility of food cycle intervention to recover usable food from multiple sources, facilitate remanufacturing by local participants and volunteers into a quality source of food for vulnerable populations, specifically seniors, aboriginal, youth and immigrants. We have observed a large amount of fresh produce moving from the local shops to food waste and recycling mechanisms and also aware of large food insecure populations in Mount Pleasant, especially the vulnerable. The feasibility study will scope out: • potential sources of usable waste food produced by businesses and retailers • existing local food recovery practices (e.g. Fruit Tree project) • existing service providers, community based groups, and other groups involved in the local food system, and other potential partners • ascertain ideas and potential projects that would result in a value added conversion process (e.g. explore opportunities to engage the vulnerable in the process; ie provide training and job opportunities, life skills, capacity building and community development) • barriers or challenges faced by stakeholders in food recovery processes, and recommendations on how to address barriers to undertake the a food recovery program • ways to redistribute food that meets stakeholders needs • recommendations for moving forward on plan implementation

Cedar Cottage Community Advocate Project

It is our intention with this Develop Grant to explore a community based Advocate model. We want to develop a neighbourhood infrastructure to bridge community to systems. The long term goal of this social innovation idea is to train community residents in systemic issues and develop advocate skills. These trained residents will host a Community Advocate hours, a time residents can go to for neighbours to support engagement in systemic support systems like disability and housing. This advocacy support is intended to bridge, navigate, ask questions and reach resolutions. It is the intention of the Neighbourhood House with the support of a Vancouver Foundation Development grant to explore this resident-to-resident community advocate model community to build resiliency, support networks and solidarity of the whole community. By bridging the flow of system knowledge through community-based relationships it will increase the ability of the Neighbourhood House to support individuals to navigate and engage in complex systems necessary to improve upon our communities social determinants of health in the areas of income and social status, social support networks and education and literacy. In our development year we will seek to document and analyze experiences of residents within systems and develop community specific advocate training through a project collective made up of partner organizations and residents guiding the outcomes with the Project Coordinator.

West End Community Food Centre

The Community Food Centre we envision in Vancouver's West End takes a 3-pronged approach to addressing inequities in our food system, in a way that is rooted in the right to food. We will work with existing emergency food resources in our community to transition to providing people who access them with healthy, fresh food in a dignified environment. We aim to develop community capacity, skills and engagement for producing and preparing food through a comprehensive suite of skill-building and educational programs offered at various locations in our community, and we aim to hire, develop, train and support a group of peer advocates to operate in our community to challenge the systemic issues which create and entrench poverty. While each of these approaches has the potential to drive change on one scale or another, a community's level of food security is generally understood to embody each of the three prongs working in synergy. By providing individuals with multiple points of access to varying levels and scales of support and advocacy, we create the necessary conditions for a nimble response to the specific issues and concerns of our community. The West End Community Food Centre will be based on a model in which programs and initiatives are animated in various locations throughout our community (this may change down the road). Starting with programs in satellite sites throughout a community is also the model of growth for most of Vancouver's Neighbourhood Houses.

Frames Film Project: Increasing Community Connectedness for Youth in Care

The Frames Film Project provides training, support, and voice to multi-barriered youth ages 16-24. Each twelve week intake includes 15-20 youth participants, 3 Frame graduates/mentors, and 2 part-time staff. Youth meet one evening each week to provide peer support; receive life and employment skills training; and collaborate to conceptualize, film and edit stories for community change. Previous Frames' films addressed community issues of substance misuse, mental health, multi-culturalism, and crime prevention. Intake 9 films will focus on youth approaches to increase community connectedness for youth in care. All Frames films are shared at quarterly community screening events. Over the past two and a half years, our approach has proven to help youth with significant barriers develop a wide range of skills and take steps towards employment and community attachment. Frames is recognized by the Globe and Mail, CBC, partner organizations, and film industry professionals as a leading youth program.

South Vancouver Seniors Hub: Innovations in Seniors -led community development.

Working collaboratively with seniors, community service partners, multiple funders & academic researchers, SVNH is developing a Hub to address seniors’ vulnerabilities in SE Vancouver. Rigorous evaluation during the 1st phase of the Hub’s development demonstrated built capacity resulting in: a broader scope of senior’s activities; increased ability of seniors from all cultural backgrounds to act as leaders; & increased capacity for operating a seniors led participatory hub model. We identified the need for a 2nd phase of development focusing on sustainability & expansion of the model into other neighborhoods to be achieved by: developing a larger & more skilled volunteer base; expanding the hub’s diversity outreach strategies to include new groups of underrepresented seniors; developing tools & training seniors to disseminate information about the model with other organizations; & building capacity for SVNH to independently undertake evaluation to inform ongoing development of the model & for demonstrating its value for seniors & potential to inform policy for determinants of health.

Youth Building Community in the Kitchen and Around the Table

Gordon House proposes to Create a weekly community kitchen project, engaging nutritionally vulnerable youth in our community in preparing a meal for each other, under the guidance of a culinary professional. We propose to use this space to animate a discussion, grounded in the Listening Circle model of social engagement taught to us by the Metro Vancouver Alliance, around the root causes of food insecurity, to generate new models of addressing this issue, and to lead the participants into engaging in action which will have a broader impact on the systems they, and others in similar situations, use to access food

Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House Pathways Out of Poverty

Pathways Out of Poverty pilots a strength-based collaborative project to build capacity among immigrant women & their families to: -Understand possible pathways out of poverty & for achieving a living wage. -Navigate training/employment services & related community supports -Develop problem solving, networking & assertiveness skills needed to address personal & systemic barriers. -Develop leadership & speaking skills to facilitate participation in public dialogue to address systemic barriers & key employment issues. The need for programming to support local immigrant women to move into paid employment was identified in 2006 and 2009-10 through the Frog Hollow Community Connections Project. In 2009, Jennifer Chun, Department of Sociology at UBC, broadened this exploration by facilitating 4 city wide neighbourhood cafes to identify the issues prevent women obtaining a "living wage" or work in their field of expertise. Pathways Out of Poverty is a collaboration between organizational stakeholders & immigrant women to positively address issues of personal & systemic exclusion.

Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood Houses: A Sturdier Neighbourhood Fabric: Weaving Policy, People and Place Together

The project will connect diverse residents of Mount Pleasant more deeply to their local area, while enlarging their capacity to positively influence the way in which Mount Pleasant develops. The need was identified through participation in the local area planning process (2007-10); consultation (2011-12) with City staff and simultaneously with grassroots groups (focused on public realm, food security, community development and the arts), local business and service agencies; plus research from external bodies. The project (over 3 years) will develop and implement collaborative skills modules for policy-focused Working Groups; coordinate and support efforts of local area stakeholders through policy implementation regarding the built environment, public realm and social and economic development; facilitate effective partnership with municipal staff and academic teams in implementing the Mount Pleasant Community Plan; develop effective protocol for early engagement of local stakeholders by property developers; and create a toolkit to benefit multiple neighbourhoods and municipalities.

Kitsilano Neighbourhood House: Seniors for Seniors Project: Building a One-Stop Place for Westside Seniors

The Seniors for Seniors Project is a senior-led initiative that will address the Health and Wellness & Belonging and Inclusion of seniors living on the Westside. The project will engage local seniors and community partners to help design, develop and implement a new one-stop Seniors Resource Centre for vulnerable seniors and individuals with physical disabilities to access info and referral services, navigate systems of care and support, and participate in programs that promote healthy living and social connection. The Kits House Seniors Resource Centre is centrally located on 8th & Vine Street, close to public transit and is wheelchair accessible. The Westside has one of the highest concentrations of seniors in Vancouver, and many are living alone with a low income, lacking support systems, feeling isolated and facing many health challenges. The Seniors for Seniors Project will address community-identified needs by providing advocacy, information and peer support services, health and social programs, and opportunities for seniors to volunteer and contribute in meaningful ways.

Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House- Intergenerational Resiliency Project

This 3-year intergenerational project focuses on supporting protective factors for impoverished, culturally diverse immigrant participants aged 10-18 years, their family members, and marginalized seniors living in the Hastings-Sunrise area. It offers attractive and innovative skill-building workshops, including hands-on culinary skills and intergenerational family support.

Kitsilano Neighbourhood House - Welcoming Neighbours Initiative

The Welcoming Neighbours Initiative aims to provide newcomers to Vancouver’s westside with much needed opportunities for meaningful social inclusion, language practice and increased community literacy. This is one of the only programs on the westside to facilitate access and inclusion for isolated, vulnerable newcomers and will provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for newcomers and new immigrants. The project includes volunteer training in cross-cultural community literacy, inclusive approaches and language support.

South Vancouver Neighbourhood House - Seniors Hub: Working with Seniors Using the Neighbourhood House Approach

Three neighbourhood houses (NH) documented their model for working with and building the capacity of seniors in a report titled Sustaining Seniors Programs through the Neighbourhood House model, 2009. A Union of BC Municipalities Grant in partnership with the City of Vancouver and United Way supported this project. Resulting from this report a collaborative relationship was formed between the NH and the Seniors Funders table- including Vancouver Coastal Health SMART Fund, City of Vancouver Social Planning, United Way, New Horizons, and Vancouver Foundation. The hub vision includes a place where seniors: gather and make connections across generations; find neighbourhood- based activities that support aging in place; are valued for their skills and abilities; and engaged in active roles in the community. To implement this model a coordinator is required along with resources to support seniors capacity building. An evaluation framework will allow us to monitor our progress and share our learnings

Astrolabe Musik Theatre Society

The Lake / n’-ha-a-itk

The Lake / n’-ha-a-itk is a musical documentary about, and that re-interprets as a film (the only Canadian opera on film), a historic BC opera integrated with contemporary syilx / Okanagan culture in an extraordinary cross-cultural collaboration. It addresses under-representation of Indigenous peoples; raises awareness of Canadian women composers; and removes barriers of access, changing an established social system which allows only certain segments to experience opera. Widely accessible through low ticket prices, community venues and, eventually, online, it liberates an entrenched art form, opening its doors to all.

Atira Women's Resource Society

Antiretroviral Therapy and Women: Assessing Barriers to Adherence (Ms. Janice Abbott/Dr. Cari Miller)

The project idea originated when it was observed that women living with HIV accessing emergency shelter services had gaps in antiretroviral therapy (ART) treatment adherence. Adherence is essential to the maintenance of health among HIV-positive people and decreased risk of transmission to sexual and drug use partners. In BC, HIV-positive women exhibit significantly lower adherence to ART than men even when known confounders, such as injection drug use, are controlled for. This study would qualitatively explore suboptimal adherence to ART among women by using community-based participatory research involving focus groups, open-ended interviews, and innovative methods such as digital storytelling. This funding will be used to hire a peer research assistant who will be integral to the project, assisting with the development of topic guides, conducting the research with women, analyzing the data and disseminating the new knowledge. Knowledge gained will identify women’s barriers to adherence and be used to develop women-specific services to support individual and community-wide health. Research Team: Cathy Puskas, Phd Student; Elysia Bourne, Atira

Maxxine Wright Early Care and Learning Centre

The Maxxine Wright Early Care and Learning Centre is a 59 - space daycare associated with Maxxine Wright Place, a comprehensive residential and health/emotional support program for women who are pregnant and/or early parenting and at risk. The daycare has been open since early 2010 and has struggled to achieve full enrollment/break even, for a variety of reasons including: -Atira's inexperience in operating daycares; -The number of infant toddler spaces, which is higher than usual because of the residential program mandate; - Stigma attached to the daycare due to the residential program. We are requesting financial support to stave off closure of the daycare while we reinvigorate our efforts to achieve full enrollment, which includes increased advertising and a comprehensive communications strategy, better utilization of our networks, a mentoring /spportive partnership with the YMCA daycare programs, revisiting our licensing/considering reconfiguration of the types of spaces and training/support of our staff to be more involved in helping us solve the problems.

Aunt Leah's Independent Lifeskills Society

CONNECTIONS: Addressing the Social Determinants of Health of First Nations Foster Youth

CONNECTIONS is a compassionate response to the overrepresentation of First Nations youth in care. It is no longer enough to acknowledge the land upon which we stand, but to honor it by integrating the knowledges and practices from which it stems. CONNECTIONS is a compassionate response to the impacts of intergenerational trauma and the inordinate number of challenges and disadvantages faced by foster youth, especially those of Aboriginal ancestry. This process remains in the beginning stages and funding received from the Vancouver Foundation Develop Grant in support of this project will, in part, go directly towards further developing strategies for lasting change.

Foster Youth Food Guide

Foster youths face a multitude of challenges after aging out of government care, from housing to education and employment. However, one of the most immediate and pressing obstacles youth face after losing support, is where they’re going to find their next meal. Due to a lack of support, we know that over half of BC foster youth will become dependent on income assistance (MCFD, 2015). This means that for the majority of foster youth, their weekly food allowance is approximately $18 after factoring in living expenses (Raise the Rates, 2015). As a result, many foster youths need to find alternative sources of free food or confront days of hunger. The good news is that there are many organizations, like Aunt Leah's Place, that offer free food and community supports in Metro Vancouver. Using youth experience and knowledge of these organizations, the Foster Youth Food Guide will create an online food resource that helps young people locate organizations that are transit accessible, safe and promote food security. The guide will be built using Google Maps’ API and include clear directions, detailed descriptions, and pictures or videos of each space. To gather this data, youth researchers will travel and review each location. We believe this project falls directly within Fostering Change’s small grants funding approach, as it is a youth-led project that fills a gap with actionable knowledge and builds relationships between foster youth and their communities in Metro Vancouver.

Bootstrap Project: Employing Youth from Care

Very rarely do young people get their first jobs and employment experiences due to ‘merit’. Instead, social connections and mentoring are the actual bridging mechanisms for entering young people into first jobs, thus giving them the opportunity to learn essential employment skills (e.g. interpersonal skills, time management, work ethic, etc.). Foster youth necessarily, and through no fault of their own, come from upbringings of poverty, abuse and neglect and are removed from their family. They do not have the necessary strong social and familial networks in order to get these first job experiences. This project will find empathetic employers who will provide this mentoring role.

Community Sourcing: Crowd-Sourcing New Allies & Resources for Youth In-And-From Care

‘Community Sourcing’ creates multiple legacy projects to build upon and carry forward the work of the Fostering Change initiative through a bi-annual youth-led and youth-organized “crowdsourcing” dinner. Dinner attendees pay an entrance fee to get dinner and a vote. Attendees hear presentations on community-building projects from youth in-and-from foster care. At the event, attendees eat, talk, share resources, and vote on the project they think benefits the community and youth-from-care the most. At the end of the night, ballots are counted and the winning presenter goes home with all money raised (around $2,000) to carry out the project. Thus, youth in-and-from foster care raise money, build community support and get connections to local resources that can help carry out their project. This Community Sourcing dinner occurs twice a year with opportunities for presenters to receive speaking & engagement training in preparation for their presentation. Two youth in-and-from foster care are hired to run the project, including organizing and building capacity of presenters, promotion of the bi-annual dinners, plus sourcing sponsors and supporters. The premise of this project is largely borrowed from SOUP, a model of community project ‘dinner’ crowd-sourcing that has proven successful around the world. People want to engage and participate in this type of community-building activity and this project opens up this important opportunity to youth in-and-from foster care.

Thresholds Program: Interrupting the Intergenerational Cycle of Foster Care

Thresholds Program provides supported housing for pregnant and parenting moms who, due to homelessness, are at risk of losing child custody. Moms live in a warm, home-like and supported environment during their stay, moving to supported independent housing when ready. Priority is given to moms who have a history of being in foster care. Youth from care are at heightened risk of early pregnancy and loss of child custody to the child welfare system. In BC, no collated record is kept on the number of youth-in-care who experience pregnancy. The best data on this issue comes from McCreary's work, ‘Fostering Potential’ (2008). The "report is based on the responses of almost 1,000 young people in Grades 7 through 12 who had been in care" and finds "among [foster] youth who ever had sex, 19% reported having been pregnant or caused a pregnancy, with a further 6% not sure if they had". Aunt Leah's 28-year history of working with young people transitioning from foster care corroborates this data; for example, of the 164 former foster youth that Aunt Leah’s worked with last year, 28 (17%) have dependents of their own – representing an additional 39 babies and children that receive Aunt Leah’s support. Thresholds works preventatively at the ‘entry’ point of the foster care system by giving pregnant & parenting young women from care the skills and resources they need in order to become successful parents, thus barring a new generation of children from entry into foster care.

The Friendly Landlord Network

Aunt Leah’s is asking Vancouver Foundation to fund the next 3 years of The Friendly Landlord Network (FLN). FLN is a Metro Vancouver-wide network of landlords who are interested in renting to youth from care, plus a network of youth-serving organizations who are interested in giving supports to youth from care in order to help them attain/maintain their tenure. The main connection point is to be a searchable online database resource ( for Metro Vancouver youth from care, foster families, social workers and youth-serving organizations. FLN creates a platform for landlords to exclusively direct their rental properties to youth from care in need of quality housing. Twenty-five youth-serving organizations from across the Lower Mainland have committed to supporting their youth who use FLN. This coalition of youth-serving organizations works to mitigates landlord concerns regarding issues such as lack of references, immaturity, low-incomes, or credit history. These organizations are geographically dispersed across the Lower Mainland and sign-up to the network on the condition that they'll give basic outreach and support to the their youth. In addition, this project will partially fund the work of Link Support Workers who help maintain the tenure of Aunt Leah's youth using FLN through regular youth check-ins, landlord relationship-building, procurement of stable income sources for rent payments, and long-term goal-setting/planning with youth.

The Canoe Project

The Canoe Project will be designed, organized and implemented by Aunt Leah’s Youth Advisory Committee (YAC). The Cano Project has two core aims: First, we (YAC) will participate again in a week-long canoe journey with the stated goal of "recognizing the past by Pulling Together to enhance understanding between Public Service Agencies and Aboriginal Peoples by canoeing the traditional highway, strengthening our future relations". Our journey last year, from Harrison Lake, down the Fraser, to Semiahmoo was a powerful journey which reconnected us culturally on the water, together eating food and listening to Elders around the fire. It also enhanced our understanding of ourselves as youth from care and our connection to public service agencies. We rowed for 5 days with MCFD Social Workers, RCMP Officers, Chiefs and Elders. We will row again in Summer 2016, but this time we will bring a new cohort of young people with us, expanding the representation of youth from care on the 2016 Pulling Together Canoe Journey ( by a factor of two! Second, we plan to present the story publicly of who we are as youth from care, using the Canoe Journey as a metaphor. We hope to work on a small presentation that we can take on the road as a workshop in settings such as schools, service clubs, service agencies and conferences. We will make a small video of our proposed presentation and deliver it at TEDx Kids in hopes of getting our message out to a larger audience.