Good Shepherd Non-Profit Homes, Toronto, HOST Program (Housing Outreach and Support Team) provides housing and related support services for adults who are homeless and experience mental illness and addictions. Community Mental Health Workers on two mobile teams support tenants in a variety of ways with the goal of increasing their quality of life. All services are offered using a recovery focus, psychosocial rehabilitation practice and a commitment to availability, flexibility, adaptability, hospitality and dignity.
The Wellness Program involves many different activities such as creative arts, a walking club, a mindfulness meditation program, provision of the NADA protocol of acudetox acupuncture and a cooking club.
The Walking Club runs once a month in different locations decided by a core group of service recipients and staff. We have 10-20 people who join in the walks around parks of the city. Community Mental Health Workers promote the walking club to clients where there is interest. Like the cooking club, the walking club is a great social opportunity for service recipients to meet. One of the challenges is the winter months when there is limited interest. We have other active social recreation events in the winter months such as ice skating, yoga and bowling.
Once a year in September, we run a camping outing with plenty of walks in nature. We go to an island on Georgian Bay and spend 3 nights in small cabins at YMCA Camp Kitchikewana. Good Shepherd staff round out the camp staff team there. Last year, a bus of 25 participants took the trip. Cost is a barrier to bringing more people. So priority is given to those who have never been on the trip before.
The mindfulness meditation 8-week program which we run 2-3 times a year has had an amazing response. Feedback has shown that participants are able to incorporate this program into their daily lives. Other health promotion activities include the NADA protocol of acudetox acupuncture by a few in-house staff who are certified acupuncture detoxification specialists and a holistic nutrition program is in the works. We are looking for someone to educate tenants how to prepare healthy meals on budget. This would complement our current cooking groups that have been going on every couple of weeks in our sites with cooking facilities. We are also trying to connect with homeopaths in the city.
Peer leadership opportunities include participation on committees such as harm reduction, social recreation and walking group.
For more information, contact:
Community Mental Health Worker
Phone Number : 416-553-6523
E-mail: goranb [at] goodshepherdcentres [dot] ca