The PEERS Employment Program is designed to improve employment readiness and the overall well-being of Trail community members who are homeless and/or experiencing housing insecurity—offering support for participants to build on the necessary skills to find flexible and meaningful peer-employment opportunities.
The program offers referrals to community services such as Housing Support, General Health, Mental Health and Addictions, Advocacy, Indigenous Services, and others. PEERS participants can access financial support for clothing, work gear, food, transportation, dental, eye care, counselling, and other health services.
Kootenay Career Development Society, in partnership with Community Development Services, has completed two years of the program, giving 88 Trail participants stronger connections to the community, increasing their confidence and self-worth.
Participants also experienced significant positive outcomes, securing and maintaining housing and employment.
PEERS provides an opportunity to feel capable, appreciated and included in the community.
Creating a context that offers participants a role different from the potentially stigmatizing narratives regarding homelessness. The program has created community partnerships with Host Placement Organizations, providing work experience placements where PEERS participants become valued teammates.
When asked how PEERS had impacted their life so far, here is what participants had to say.
“I can accomplish whatever is put in front of me.”
“It has given me the confidence I need to go back to work full time.”
“The program has lifted my hopes by putting together the work experience.”
“The program has helped bring me strength in working and being confident in public setting[s].”
“Building my self-esteem up. Treated me with kindness and [helping to find] a place to live.”
“Has had a good impact on my life and helped me with all my struggles.”
“Power of belief, Power of community.”
“This program has been amazing for my confidence and self-esteem, which were so poor before starting but are starting to pick up. Being able to earn [some] extra money has been so helpful in meeting my daily needs!”
“I live in a clean house for the first time since 1991.”
We are forever grateful for programs like this that continue to build stronger communities.
For more information on PEERS, please visit: https://kcds.ca/project/peers.