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Turning Points Collaborative Society has been serving the Okanagan for fifty years. One of the most important lessons we’ve learned during that time is that the world is constantly changing, and it’s our job to adapt to those changes. As a result, we’re always on the lookout for new, more effective, and inventive ways of doing things.
Listed below are some innovative initiatives and partnerships that we think are worth sharing:
In just one year, homelessness in West Kelowna has reduced by almost 1/3, in large part due to Turning Points’ innovative programming!
What makes our programming innovative is our use of a prevention, diversion, and rapid resolution model.
Most of our clients are introduced to Turning Points’ services through our outreach team. This team builds relationships with people living on the street and offers them support and supplies.
One of the most valuable forms of support the team offers is to empower clients to map their social networks in order to find opportunities for temporary shelter or even permanent housing. If housing opportunities are identified, clients are linked to other Turning Points programs in order to help them secure employment or other services that they need to build towards housing stability.
Essentially, the goal of these initial outreach activities is to divert clients away from the overburdened shelter system and towards housing opportunities with people they know. This has the added benefit of helping them to develop social networks, which sets them up for long-term success as they take the next steps towards housing stability.
If clients don’t have temporary housing options in their social networks, then Turning Points typically offers them a bed in one of our shelters or interim housing facilities. While there, caseworkers help them determine next steps towards housing stability. Through this process, clients are helped to identify the key steps they need to take in order to obtain permanent shelter. These steps vary by client and can be anything from routinely washing their clothing to beginning a job search.
Once clients have found permanent housing, our outreach team continues to work with them to ensure everything is running smoothly. We offer mediation services if they are facing challenges with their landlords, we take people to the food bank, we help people develop budgets, and we help people connect to their communities. These community connections are particularly important because they often play a vital role in preventing people from cycling back into homelessness.
In essence, our West Kelowna programming is designed to empower people to take the steps necessary to move out of homelessness and then co-pilot them through the process!
Our leadership recognizes that building a diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment is vital to the health of our organization and to the wellbeing of our staff, clients and residents.
With that in mind, in 2021, Turning Points became an organizational member of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion. This membership gives our employees access to a treasure trove of resources, including ongoing training in how to create inclusive, welcoming, and supportive environments for our clients and residents.