Riley’s Story

Riley* was referred to the John Howard Society of the Central and South Okanagan’s (JHSCSO) residential services in January 2014 in his mid-50’s. He had been living in a small city in British Columbia for 18 years in a home that provided him with 24/7 support due to his neuro-cognitive deficits and substance misuse. The support provided was not one that fostered independence. When referred to us, Riley was being evicted from his housing due to behavioural issues which stemmed from his frequent substance misuse. He had accessed all of the resources available to him within the small town and they could no longer support him.

In January 2014, Riley moved to Cardington Apartments which offers bachelor units of low income supportive housing for adults who are at risk of homelessness and/or working towards managing their mental health and/or substance misuse issues. Here, life skill development is a key by providing intensive support services to help manage their substance misuse, mental health and to develop important life skills. During Riley’s residency at Cardington Apartments, he was connected to community supports through the Gateway Mentoring Program. Through an individualized reward/incentive program, he was able to develop life skills and and has reduced his substance use. After the two years, Riley was doing so well that he was transitioned up to New Gate apartments, which provides permanent residency with self-contained studio units of low income supportive housing for adults who are at risk of homelessness and require some support to maintain their housing. Riley is continuing to flourish in this more independent environment, and has made friends within the building. He is drinking very little, participating in pro-social activities, and doing day-to-day tasks on his own. He is also very happy to have this safe environment to live in.

The United Way enables us to share information about Riley between our residential and Gateway support workers, ensuring we provide a cohesive, supportive range of services. He is more independent, safer, having a much higher quality of life, and is using fewer high-intensity community resources (hospital, RCMP, etc.) as a result. Alleviating poverty and improving quality of life for one of our most vulnerable citizens thanks to the contributions made through United Way.

*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of the individual

With your help, we can support Health People and Strong Communities:

  • Provide clinical counselling to individuals suffering from addictions
  • Supply housing to people on the verge of homelessness
  • Ensure ongoing support is available to all members of our community


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