EndPovertyEdmonton-Action-22.jpg

Road Map Action 22

Increase supports to the Community Bridge initiative to prevent evictions.

Road Map Timeline: Years 1 - 5

EPE Strategy priority alignment: #13 - Negotiate with other orders of government to increase funding for affordable and supportive housing as well as rental subsidy programs.

Initiative Name:
COMMUNITY BRIDGE

Initiative Lead Organization:
BISSELL CENTRE

 

Providing Support to Prevent Eviction

Community Bridge is a rapid response intervention that stops an imminent eviction and provides interventions/services purposed to ensure that causes of the eviction are effectively addressed in order to ward off reoccurrence.

The available supports provided include:

  • Bridge Funding to families and individuals

  • System Advocacy and Navigation

  • Relationship Management with Landlords, Utility Companies, Service Partners

  • Help getting a job or going back to school

  • Supports through addictions and mental health issues

  • Access to free child care while addressing issues

  • Transitional Case Management

  • Re-Housing (damage deposit, rent, hook-ups, moving help)

When loans are provided they serve as the foundation of a bridge through an immediate cash crisis. The money provides time for further interventions and assistance to help the individual/family make the necessary adjustments or changes required to increase financial stability and maintain their accommodation permanently.

Since inception to July 2018, the program has supported 1654 people, which includes 770 unique applicants along with their 770 children and 114 spouses or partners. Community Bridge processed 823 applications from those applicants, 564 of which resulted in both navigational support and funding. Loans have totaled $655,626, and a further $202,854 were leveraged from other sources such as Alberta Works.

The loan is offered through a spirit of “paying it forward,” and provides the individual with time to work through their interventions.

 

2017/18 Loans

Activities from April 2017 – May 2018


April 1, 2017 – March 31, 2018
April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2017
Total Applications 190 269
Total Applicants 184 259
Total System Navigation Applicants 48 84
Total Loan Applicants 128 158
Total Withdrew from Service 10 27

There are more applications than applicants due to individuals that have applied more than once.  Community Bridge saw a decrease this year in applications.


April 1, 2017 – March 31, 2018
April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2017
Loans Amount $136,062.57
$195,490.36
Leveraged Dollar Amount
$51,382.89
$67,947.30
Total Dollars Towards Eviction Prevention
$187,445.46
$263,437.66
Average Loan Amount
$1062.98
$1237.28

Community Bridge provided less money to participants in terms of loans. Leveraged dollars are money that Community Bridge staff help participants access that is not Community Bridge dollars. The average loan amount decreased in 2017/18 over the previous year.


April 1, 2017 – March 31, 2018
April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2017
Total People Supported (applicants + dependents)
340
550
Total Dependents
156
291
Total Spouses
16
45
Total Children
140
246

Similarly to having less applicants, Community Bridge saw a decrease in the number of dependents that were supported this year from the previous year.

 

Providing Learning Opportunities to Loan Applicants

In collaboration with Enmax, Bissell Centre hosted two energy efficiency workshops where Community Bridge participants were invited to learn about ways they can save money through increasing energy efficiency in their homes. Participants were generally happy about this training, and most indicated that they learned more about energy efficiency and cost savings related to the strategies presented.  Enmax reaffirmed their commitment to addressing energy poverty in Alberta by providing an additional two years of funding for Community Bridge.

 

Collaborating for Increased Understanding

Bissell Centre participates in bi-annual roundtable discussions about eviction prevention hosted by United Way. These meetings provide a good opportunity to share best practices and collectively address challenges that arise with organizations from various communities throughout the Capital Region.

 

Strengthening Relationships

Internally at Bissell Centre, Community Bridge moved into the Housing Services portfolio.  This means that Community Bridge is under the same supervision as the Outreach Housing Team and Homeless to Homes.  This has made the ability to manage relationships with landlords much stronger.

 

Evaluating the Program

By April 2019, a comprehensive Community Bridge evaluation will be finalized and distributed.

Community Bridge plans to review the process from initial contact to file closure and develop a collaborative process map. This will enable Community Bridge to find opportunities to increase efficiency and accuracy in its work as well as help staff troubleshoot areas where system challenges may arise.

Learn more about Housing Services from Bissell Centre

Public and MEDIA INQUIRY CONTACT: 780.423.2285 ext. 122


Last Updated: August 8, 2018