Ladysmith Centre Reaching Out To Locals In Need Of Support
United Way-funded program is bridging the gap between supports and those in need.
Small things can become huge problems for those in desperate need of help.
A forgotten P.O. box with some government mail, a lost I.D., or lack of access to a computer, and the internet can mean very limited access to support services or pension cheques.
Practically, that can mean no food, no money for rent, and life-threatening situations for our neighbours.
And while keeping a hold of an I.D. and staying up to date with your mail may seem like simple things, they become a lot more complicated when your days are spent moving all of your possessions from place to place because there is nowhere you’re allowed to stay until reaching a shelter at night.
That’s where services like the Ladysmith Resources Centre comes in. Its Housing Support Services program is funded by United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island thanks to a federal government Reaching Home grant and our generous donors. It’s a program that reaches out to those in need to solve those small things that have become huge problems and makes sure our neighbours can get by while they wait for other services to kick in.
That’s Wendy Radcliffe’s job. She’s the housing support worker at the centre.
Having learned to navigate the systems for pensions, EI, CERB and others on behalf of her clients, Wendy said there are many barriers between people and the supports they should have access to.
“What I’ve learned is, to get onto Ministry funding, you have to apply online, and how possible is that for people that don’t have a home or a computer?” she says.
Whereas, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the centre’s offices and libraries had computers available for people to use, those services have had to close.
In another situation, Wendy says she was able to file an application for the old age supplement for a homeless senior but found that application had been shelved because of some government mail that the senior hadn’t responded to.
However, she said she was able to sort things out thanks to knowing the right number to call, and being able to explain the situation.
“How many people out there don’t know how to go about it? I’m sure there are some out there that should be collecting a pension and aren’t.”
Wendy and the centre have been able to help people do their taxes, connect them up to the local food bank, offer one-time rent relief, and provide some dignity as well by providing people with access to laundry services and showers.
Ultimately, the goal is to help people access stable housing, and help them stay there. While those efforts have been complicated by the pandemic, Wendy says the pandemic has also meant those without homes and others in need have become more aware of the centre’s services, and better connected to supports.
If you live in the Ladysmith area and you need help contact the Ladysmith Resources Centre via 250-245-3079 or online (https://www.lrca.ca/)
Essential services like these have been able to continue during the pandemic in part thanks to support from United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island.
When you choose to give to UWCNVI, you’re supporting effective services like this in your community.
If you can, please consider giving to UWCNVI today.
The Housing Support Services program is supported by the Government of Canada's Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy.