Helping People Thrive: Highlighting the Outreach Emergency Fund

Skills Society’s Vision is a community where all individuals are valued citizens deserving respect, dignity, and rights. In working towards this Vision we support the people we serve to thrive in five pillars of everyday life: home life, relationships, employment, health & wellness, and community connections. 

Sometimes helping people thrive starts with ensuring people’s basic needs are met. The Skills Society Outreach Emergency Fund does just this – provides funds for essential items when the people we serve are in, or about to be in, crisis. We are grateful to have recently received a generous $2000 contribution from the Royal Alexandra Hospital Employees’ Charitable Donations Fund in support of this initiative. Read on to learn more about the Outreach Emergency Fund and how this fund benefits the people we serve.  

The five pillars we help people thrive in

About the Outreach Emergency Fund

This fund is used as a last resort funding option to help individuals stay out of crisis when they have exhausted all other community supports and services.

Some of the individuals we serve through our Outreach Program face multiple barriers including things like social isolation, addiction, mental health challenges, involvement with the criminal justice system, unemployment, and homelessness. To make things even more challenging for these individuals, they often face barriers to employment and access financial support through AISH and as a result have very limited income. 

As an organization we receive provincial funding from the “Persons with Developmental Disabilities Program” (PDD). This funding only pays for direct staff supports, it does not pay for things an individual we support might need in their day to day life like food, clothing, or accessibility equipment. Although we strive to help the people we support tap into other community resources to meet their needs, sometimes these supports and services are not enough to help people stay out of crisis. This is why some leaders within Skills Society established the Outreach Emergency Fund. This fund is used as a last resort funding option to help individuals stay out of crisis when they have exhausted all other community supports and services.  

“This funding is essential for us to help people have quality lives and remain housed. We can do better than just survive, let’s thrive.” – Lasha, Manager of Community Supports

How this fund benefits the people we serve

“Having access to these funds can be the hope and the hand up someone needs in a tough situation. A little caring and compassion goes a long way and has the power to change the trajectory of a person’s life.” – Christienne, Coordinator of Community Supports

This fund is essential in helping the people we serve when they are in a tight spot with no other services to turn to. Some examples of how the Outreach Emergency Funds are used include:

  • Avoiding Eviction: for example, if an individual we support has bed bugs and they do not have funds to launder their clothes in accordance with the bed bug prep expectations of the lease, they may face eviction. Funds from the Outreach Emergency Fund can be accessed in situations like this to help the individual launder their clothes and therefore avoid eviction.
  • Moving out of Homelessness: We support some individuals who are moving out of homelessness and have recently become housed. In these cases individuals often have few or no possessions so the Outreach Emergency Fund can be accessed to assist the individual, when all other resources have been exhausted, in purchasing some essentials for their new place such as bedding, bed bug covers, dishes, and basic furniture. 
  • Emergency Food: Although the foodbank is a great resource to the people we support, it cannot always provide enough food for the people we support to make ends meet. The Outreach Emergency Fund supports individuals who have run out of food and money to purchase food.
  • Mobility and Other Disability Aides: Some of the individuals we support require specific equipment to support them in engaging in their everyday life. The Outreach Emergency Fund can be accessed to support people in purchasing equipment and aides that are essential to their daily living and support their inclusion when all other funding avenues have been exhausted. For example the fund has been used in the past to purchase noise canceling headphones for an individual who experiences sensory overload. 

Image of fruits and vegetables
Fresh produce that was purchased with the Outreach Emergency Fund

 

Sharing our gratitude

Many thanks to the Royal Alexandra Hospital Employees’ Charitable Donations Fund for their recent contribution to this important Skills Society initiative. We would also like to express our gratitude to the dedicated Skills Society Outreach staff, who in year’s past, have generously volunteered their time to participate in a highway clean up fundraiser to help raise money for the Outreach Emergency Fund.

Interested in donating to the Outreach Emergency Fund or learning more? Contact us at info@skillssociety.ca