A disproportionate number of individuals who are homeless are Indigenous and due to the cycle of poverty, issues associated with homelessness has been the main source of crime, In response to community need, VATJSS offers an Homelessness Outreach necessary to address housing needs in a way that recognizes unique cultural and social needs. The VATJSS Homeless Outreach Program aims to reduce the number of Indigenous who are homeless by providing direct access to immediate housing supports along with services to address the individual’s housing, health, and cultural needs. This program works within a continuum to provide services from emergency and imminent needs to self sufficiency.
The program provides outreach services for street homeless, couch surfing, in care or who have struggle with intermittent homelessness issues.
VATJSS Justice Program provides service in two key areas: First: our Diversion Unit delivers Crown referred Alternative Measures (adult)Extra Judicial Sanctions(youth) and VPD/RCMP Diversion to Indigenous people residing in the Metro Vancouver area and Second: support to those members in Provincial Community Corrections completing orders.
The main objectives of the program is to offer a structure that fosters our Indigenous protocols and way of life to repair relationships among those affected by crime - the victim, the accused, their families, and the community - and to empower individuals to identify behaviours/patterns that have led to crime, mitigate new repsonses and strategies to deal with the crime and participate directly in processes that affect the overall well-being of the community.
For our Diversion Unit, the Society utilizes a community council forum made up of volunteers, an Elder, the victim and the accused and their support people to discuss the offence, its effects, and the causes of the behaviour that led to the offence. At the conclusion of the forum, a Healing Plan is developed with the goal of making amends and positively moving the accused towards stability and purpose. The Healing Plan is tailored to the needs and circumstances of the accused consisting of various options such as A&D counseling, employment training, community service, housing needs, etc.