The Smithers Community Services Association (SCC) held their annual open house Nov. 26 at the CN Station in Smithers to increase local awareness about the broad spectrum of programs and services they offer.
SCC program managers and board members were available to answer questions face-to-face and a tour bus made the rounds to the various buildings and services in Smithers established by the non-profit organization.
“There were a lot of people we hadn’t met before,” Cathryn Olmstead, SCC executive director, said.
“People kept saying, ‘I learned something new today’, which is the whole point.”
SCC has 14 distinct programs to ensure the organization covers as much ground as possible, all belonging to one of four core sections: community, youth, family and housing.
“Housing is a very large part of what we do,” Jackie Bourdeau, SCC administration, said.
“What we call ‘Arthur’s house’ is a small house that is set aside by us partly because affordable housing is so hard to come by in the valley.”
The single-bedroom home is a prototype for SCC.
“There’s a special place in all our hearts for those little houses,” Olmstead said.
“We’re hoping to get some funding from CMHC to build more like Arthur’s house.”
The Meadows and Alpine Court are the two major SCC jointly operated housing ventures.
The Meadows is an assisted living home for seniors in the valley in co-operation with BC Housing (BCH) and Northern Health Authority (NHA).
Fourteen single bedroom, wheelchair-accessible units are provided within the Meadows complex for seniors who don’t require 24-hour care.
SCC provides services such as, meals, social and recreational activities and housekeeping, while NHA provides personal care and BCH provides funding and develops policy.
Alpine Court is a 24-unit family housing complex with 10 low-income units and two units equipped for the physically disabled, run in co-operation with BCH and the Bulkley Drive Housing Society.
“We offer non-subsidized units at 10 per cent of market value at Alpine Court,” Olmstead said.
During the open house SCC provided community members with a tour of services and housing initiatives.
“I think people are familiar with some of what we do,” Bourdeau said.
“But at the open house there were a lot of people who found out just how much our society does.”
The SCC provides services from Hazelton to Houston, including, Youth Empowerment Programs, the Smithers Good Food Box and the public transit system in Smithers.
Broadway Place Emergency Shelter, now open around-the-clock, seven days a week, is jointly run with BCH and provides homeless people in the valley with a place to stay in the short-term and also helps those using the shelter to find a permanent dwelling.
“We currently find a residence for two or three individuals per month,” Pauline Taekema, shelter manager, said.
The shelter’s outreach worker also supports renters by helping them get food and communicates with power and gas companies and landlords.
There are also six rental units managed by SCC for BCH above the shelter.
SCC also organizes Volunteer Smithers which helps connect volunteers with organizations in need of assistance, such as, an English as a second language tutor, the Smithers Art gallery or Smithers Community Radio, CICK.
For more information contact Smithers Community Services at 250-847-9515 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.scsa.ca.