Wikipedia defines ‘Street Outreach Workers’ as people who respond to street youths’ immediate needs for food, clothing, shelter, and medical care. They also carry with them items to hand out to street youth, including:
- first aid kids
- healthy snacks
- clothing like underwear and outer wear to protect against the weather
- toothbrushes and toothpaste
- feminine hygiene products
- cards with emergency phone numbers
- resource lists of homeless shelters
- food pantries
- free medical facilities
- legal aid information cards
Outreach workers connect and engage with youth, meeting them where they are at. Early intervention is the key to building relationships with these vulnerable youth and assessing their needs. Providing support through lay-counselling, reconnecting young people with family, encouraging them to work through the issues that brought them to the street is a focus of the work. Safety is a consideration that workers keep in mind when matching young people with other supports and services.
Seeing more than 140 youth monthly, the Eastside Integrated Youth Team includes two full time outreach workers, Matt and Mike. This program is funded through Vancouver Coastal Health, City of Vancouver, BC Housing, Vancouver Foundation and a private donor.
Watari’s Eastside Integrated Youth Team manages to maintain connections with services in the community that interact with youth but aren’t sure how to assist them in negotiating the systems that are specific to youth. Working with Imouto House, Insite, Raincity Housing, First United and more, the team attempts to interact quickly and respectfully with young people to create pathways to employment, housing, education or home.
HOW CAN WE HELP YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW?
For more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Outreach Workers can be reached on their cell phone at 604.724.6737 or 778.926.4404