From young to old, people with diverse needs from around the Columbia Basin will benefit from 16 projects aimed at improving their social well-being. These projects are being funded by $1 million in Social Grants from Columbia Basin Trust.
“Our goal is to strengthen social well-being and address social issues in Basin communities,” said Aimee Ambrosone Columbia Basin Trust Director, Delivery of Benefits. “All of these projects are taking concrete actions that will have lasting effects, both on the individuals who access the services and on the overall quality of life in our region.”
The Ktunaxa Nation Council is one of the grant recipients. They are developing and delivering a culturally appropriate Aboriginal justice system.
“This project will be based on the Medicine Wheel and use a holistic approach to address the areas of spiritual, emotional, mental and physical well-being,” said Debbie Whitehead, Social Sector Director.
“Many of our Aboriginal young people are not only affected by developmental disabilities, they lack connection to culture and family. Without guidance and direction, they are vulnerable and easy prey to be welcomed into the crime community. The Ktunaxa Nation is committed to ensuring Aboriginal people involved in the justice system are not falling through the cracks. Our hope is this project will help to circumvent crime involvement and reduce recidivism by addressing the root causes of criminal behaviour.”
Another recipient is the Nelson Community Services Society. It will be continuing its Nelson Street Outreach Program, which responds to the immediate and longer-term needs of the city’s growing “street culture” population.
“People are taking the Street Outreach Team’s offers of help to get into housing, to go to addictions treatment and to take care of their health and mental health needs, and generally feel like someone cares about them and how they are doing,” said Rona Park, Society Executive Director and Chair of the Downtown Nelson Street Culture Collaborative.
“There are lots of challenges in doing the work, but the members of the Collaborative, which includes several Baker Street business owners and police, believe we are on the right track and are getting closer to offering the kind of caring, coordinated responses we’ve been hoping for since the outset of the project.”
The Trust has distributed more than $6 million to improve social well-being in our communities since starting the Social Grants program in 2012.
ANKORS (AIDS Network Kootenay Outreach and Support Society)
Deliver health promotion, harm prevention and sexual health training and education programs to residents, educators and service providers. The goal is to shift attitudes and reduce bias and stigma by providing factual information geared at reducing high-risk behaviours in vulnerable populations. $120,000
Kaslo Housing Society
Coordinate community efforts related to housing, including identifying opportunities to create new affordable housing units, helping existing housing groups improve their current housing stock, maintaining a local housing directory and offering resources and referral for landlords and tenants. $50,000
Kootenay Boundary Community Services Co-op
Work with community partners to develop and deliver a seamless response for young victims of violence and crime and their caregivers. The goal is to improve access to services and resources, reducing the potential for re-traumatization, social isolation and ongoing vulnerability. $45,000
Nelson CARES Society
Introduce the Kootenay Seniors Program to integrate existing seniors’ support programs and extend additional services to improve overall outcomes for seniors. $178,000
Nelson Community Services Society
Extend the work of the Nelson Street Outreach Program for an additional year to refine the program, adjust to higher-than-anticipated demand and continue to deliver outreach support to the growing number of people experiencing homelessness and relying on “street culture” for survival. $15,000
School District #20 (Kootenay Columbia)
Continue to build a sustainable, food-secure environment for students. This includes implementing a comprehensive strategy that supports breakfast programs, collaborating with community partners to source local food, undertaking garden projects and providing ongoing nutritional education. $66,565
Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation
Continue to deliver adventure-based alternative education opportunities that integrate clinical therapy and counselling support. The goal is to increase the rate of graduation for youth at risk of leaving the mainstream school system before completing their high school diplomas. $30,000