Campbell River’s Coalition to End Homelessness (CRDCEH) is made up of representatives from various non-profits and social organizations dedicated to ending housing insecurity, but there is one group who has not been at the table yet: people with lived experience of homelessness.
The coalition will be partnering with the Urban Indigenous Housing and Wellness Coalition to begin the first steps towards increasing involvement from people with lived experience. At the coalition’s March 4 meeting, coordinator Stefanie Hendrickson proposed creating a committee out of current coalition members to start the process. That committee would be tasked with determining how many peers would be on the advisory group and how to move forward with the group.
“We’ve been looking forward to developing a way to include people with lived or living experience in the discussion around homelessness around Campbell River and the district,” said CRDCEH coordinator Stefanie Hendrickson during the meeting.
“This will be step one to include people with lived experience, this isn’t where it’s going to end,” she added. “The hope is that eventually we would move forward from there and include people with lived experience possibly even on the leadership team or in more direct and meaningful ways. This is step one.”
Two members of the coalition’s leadership team will be on the initial committee, which is tasked with setting up how that peer group will work. Hendrickson extended an invitation to other members of the coalition as well.
“The committee’s role is to develop what this peer advisory group is going to look like, the make up of the group,” she said. “We want to make sure that all the folks are represented, so there’s Indigenous representation, there’s women. They’ll be laying that out, what a good size is, who will be facilitating the sessions, whether a social worker or outreach worker should be present and how to make this really meaningful.”
Hendrickson hopes that the peer group can be up and running by May.