On November 1, 2014, United Way of the Alberta Capital Region welcomed 30 Bissell Centre staff members to their newly acquired satellite office on Stony Plain Road. The space is an in-kind donation from United Way and created for Bissell Centre to help them extend their reach to the west-end and continue to help meet the needs of the community.
Bissell Centre continues its primary operation at 10527 – 96 Street in downtown Edmonton. Now, with this new satellite office, in the west end, they are able to build relationships with clients in another area of the city. This Stony Plain Road office will focus on addressing housing issues for individuals with multiple barriers, as well as offering multiple supports for people with complex needs.
“Stony Plain Road is a great location for us to be able to deliver our programs (H2H and 24/7 MAP), because the need for our services stretches far beyond the downtown core,” Says Matt Ashdown, Crisis Diversion and Housing Manger, Bissell Centre. “Another benefit of having the 24/7 MAP and H2H programs in the same building is that it allows our teams to work more closely together which will help enhance our ability to respond to our client’s needs.”
The Mobile Assistance Program (MAP), a partnership with REACH, Homeward Trust, EPS, EMS and 211, is on Edmonton’s streets 24 hours a day, 365 days a year responding to people in need. The MAP team offers immediate help, freeing police and ambulances to focus more on emergencies, and connects people to housing, as well as, follow-up supports to deal with the underlying causes of their crises.
Homeless to Homes (H2H) is based on principles of Housing First which assert that housing should be addressed prior to any other barrier in an individual’s life. Participants in H2H are provided assistance in finding and setting up a market apartment in the neighborhood of their choice. Once moved in, an H2H Follow-up Support Worker (FSW) assists the participant to develop a Service Plan with the ultimate goal of increased housing stability.
“The office space is an example of another level of support beyond last year’s funding of the Community Bridge Program and the emergency financial assistance provided by United Way following the Bissell Thrift Shop fire in September 2013,” Says Anne Smith, President and CEO, United Way of the Alberta Capital Region.
United Way is committed to supporting its partner agencies, like Bissell Centre, for the benefit of improving the lives of people in our community. In addition to this responsive financial assistance, United Way provides regular funding to the Bissell Centre’s Essential and Community Support Services and Volunteer Services programs.
“United Way has always been responsive to the community’s needs and supportive of the Bissell Centre’s mission, of empowering people to move from poverty to prosperity,” says Mark Holmgren, CEO, Bissell Centre. “By providing this space, United Way allows us to establish staff in different locations to help improve relationships with our clients in the west end of Edmonton, as well as create new ones.” Together, we are creating pathways out of poverty.