UGM helps the homeless access services – and get hair cuts
Vancouver’s homeless had the opportunity to access dozens of life-changing services at a single event in June, when UGM’s Summer Connect event provided help with Canada Pension Plan applications, potential tax refunds, job supports, hair styling and more.
“Most people down here are in survival mode, even myself at times,” says UGM guest 69-year-old Lorelei. “The less running around you have to do, the easier it is to move forward, especially when you’re in emotional turmoil.”
For the first time ever, Service Canada joined the event to receive applications for supports like the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security–programs that can help UGM guests exit homelessness. They were also able to issue Social Insurance Numbers on the spot to eligible applicants.
The event aims to gather vital supports under one roof, at one time, to help people navigate an overwhelming system of supports. Princess Avenue was shut down to accommodate the more than 1,500 attendees, who had access to foot washing, bike repair, mental health supports, and more. The event is sponsored by 700 Club Canada.
“We’re thrilled to have Service Canada join this year to help our guests face to face,” says UGM’s Nicole Mucci. “People who are homeless often feel lost in their moment of crisis. They have no idea what help is available, where it is, or how to find it. This event connects each piece of the puzzle, allowing people to make strides in one day that could otherwise take weeks or months.”