By Demii Niles
The Hastings Resource Centre has been helping the community for 30 years with housing and mental health.
Taylor Wilson started the Intensive Case Management program five years ago as an Intensive case manager at Hastings Housing Resource Centre and has worked with the organization for nine years. She works directly with people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness due to a health and safety issue.
Hastings Housing Resource Centre helps service people who are looking for housing in Hastings County ages 16 and up. They assist people who are looking for immediate, temporary or emergency accommodations. The resource centre has a housing counselor who sits individually with each person and works with them to find the proper resources and assistance needed.
“It’s one of those services of sitting down with people and giving them lists from our registry. We recruit landlords and they can list their units,” said Wilson explaining that some have trouble finding housing because they are not qualified due to having no income, references and etc.
”The case management program … works with people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Whereas the Housing Resource centre you could see people in all walks of life even if they are just looking for newer accommodations,” Wilson said.
The centre is under the umbrella of Youthab which provides mental health counseling and transitional homes for youth ages 16- 24. The transition home is for people who are not as independent. There is co-op housing for youth under 24 who are more independent. There is a program called Career Edge which is also part of Youthab, they have employment programs and mental health as well covered under Youthab.
“I believe that the Intensive Case Management Program is very much needed in this community, a lot of people need that little bit of extra support. The intensive case manager calls the landlords on their behalf, takes them to viewings, and stays in contact with them for up to one year. So its people that are very precariously housed, persistently homeless, or chronically homeless. These are the people that aren’t maintaining housing and really need that support and we can help,” Wilson Said.
She said the registration process isn’t difficult and a lot of the Intensive case management takes referrals.
“We get a lot of referrals from Ontario works and different community agencies who are working with people that are homeless or at risk. We have a lot of people just coming in themselves, we have listings online so they can access our services online, by phone, walk-in or by appointment,” said Wilson.
Reta Shepherd, is the housing coordinator for the Hastings Housing Resource Centre and has been working with the organization for 25 years.
Shephard said they have many pockets for funding the Hastings Housing Resource Centre, she said they receive their core funding from Hastings County and also gets funding from United Way Hastings & Prince Edward. They receive funding for two other specific programs from the homeless partnering strategy which is specific to Belleville. They also receive funding from Home for Good program which was launched last year as a good housing project and has been flowing through Hastings County from the federal government. United Way Hastings and Prince Edward started funding The Hastings Housing Centre after they had opened their doors to help support the community.
Shepherd says the organization had grown leaps in bounds in the last 25 years that she has worked there.
“When I started here with all of Youthab there was maybe 20 people that worked here and now there is over 80 of us. Our employment programs have expanded our mental health programs have expanded and the housing recourse centre has expanded,” Said Shepherd “As a community, we seem to be more connected then we were 25 years ago.”
She said they have made progress within the community but do see a lot of people with mental health and addiction problems as opposed to what they had seen 25 years ago. Shepherd said United Way is important to them because they are all connected.
“It helps to reassure all those agencies that are funded by the United Way. It’s like a big reunion when we all get together…,” said Shepheard “It’s also having that understanding in the community and United Way really helps with that.”
Demii Niles is an intern at United Way Hastings & Prince Edward from the Loyalist College Journalism Program. She lives an active lifestyle keeps engaged with the community and on her own time writes and helps people when she can.