The Pillars of SHOW
In any of our three buildings, be it 402, 362, or 144 Erb Street, the principles that guide us are all the same. We believe housing access, stabilization and eviction prevention supports all need the following for an individual to truly be supported and succeed. These are:
- Decreased isolation
Loneliness is a major public health concern, and studies have shown that feelings of isolation and not “belonging” have major negative implications on one’s physical and mental health. Our tenants, most of whom are coming from sometimes long histories of homelessness, or isolated seniors, are particularly vulnerable. Risks can include hypertension, cardiovascular disease and lower mortality rates. Loneliness is associated with increased stress, anxiety, self-esteem/self-worth, personality disorders, psychosis, depression and suicide. These have all be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Studies have shown that compared with the general population, those who are vulnerable and/or experiencing homelessness have higher rates of increased prevalence of infectious and chronic diseases, more mental health disorders, and higher rates of premature death.
The ways in which we negate these feelings of loneliness include the following:
- Home visits, including intensive case management
- Providing social and recreational programming (ie. Bingo, art class, cooking classes, yoga, day trips, movie nights)
- Having a large meeting space where tenants and staff can come together to talk, watch TV, and play pool
- Having an on site food pantry program, helping to increase food security for our tenants (most SHOW tenants are on ODSP, OW or CPP).
Our Supportive Housing building at 362 Erb Street West is staffed 24/7. Having this allows tenants to come and say good morning or good night to someone, someone to check in with, someone to discuss today’s news with. These “little things” are of incredible importance to our tenants and go along way to help them feel connected and supported. We know at those who are lonely are less likely to get in contact with formal counseling supports and social workers, or to visit physicians when they are sick. Our staff are diligent about making connections with the tents, to ensure that long term “therapeutic alliances” are created. At SHOW, we understand the importance of creating meaningful connections with our tenants – they are valued.
The end result is creating a space where our tenants, in any of buildings, feel a sense of community and belonging – like they are a part of a family.