Let’s make a difference NOW!

March 3, 2020

Big things NOW happening in the Okanagan.

The Stober Foundation is pleased to announce a long-term partnership with NOW Canada. 

Since 1998, NOW has been providing services to females and their children in our community.

Over the years, the agency has worked collaboratively with a wide range of service providers and all levels of government to develop housing, programs and services to meet identified needs in our community that are aligned to our mission and vision, ensuring our participants’ needs are met and unnecessary duplication of service is avoided.

NOW Canada are proud to present the following continuum of care offering emergency shelter, transitional housing and affordable rental apartment as well as a range of programs to complement each housing initiative.  Their continuum of care supports the social well-being of our clients and gives opportunity for resiliency - assisting them with the capacity to recover from their challenges so they start to reintegrate back into community life.  

  • The Alexandra Gardner Women and Children Safe Centre (A 20+ bed low-barrier homeless shelter for women, youth and children). 
  • Twenty four hour Emergency Assistance (On call client support 24 hours a day) 
  • Essentials Program (safe housing, individualized support and life skills sessions)
  • Therapy Programs (trauma, equine and yoga)
  • Healthy Living and Follow Care Programs 
  • Peer Mentor Program 
  • Homeless Prevention Program 
  • Community Housing Outreach Worker Program
  • NOW Place Apartments (affordable housing)
  • Tutt Street Place (affordable housing)

NOW’s continuum of care is presented by a committed staff, an active Board of Directors and supported by caring volunteers, offering participants the opportunity to strengthen and stabilize, improve their ability to deal with their challenges, build on their unique attributes and transform their lives. They see women and youth becoming independent and confident; making positive and healthy lifestyle changes and reintegrating back into the community as contributing and caring members of our society.

NOW continues to develop and enhance its collaboration with all levels of government, other service providers and residents in our city. Through committed community partnerships, we can have a direct impact on the social well-being of individuals, which in turn benefits the community as a whole. NOW sits on many committees which work in collaboration to serve those in most need.  

Although NOW has always been a women serving agency, the need in our community is changing and we need to adapt to meet this need.  Therefore, in their new 40 apartment building (under construction) the Board has approved offering housing to single dads as well. There are many single fathers who struggle financially and there is limited affordable rentals available for them. As well, senior couples will be able to reside here.  We are excited to be expanding in this direction.

The society also has a desire to re-develop its emergency shelter.  The AG House is a 20 bed shelter and the original build dates back to the 1950s.  NOW are fortunate to own the shelter, which is situated on land which could be redeveloped to offer emergency shelter as well as some bachelor suites, giving clients who are not so vulnerable the opportunity to move out of the shelter environment but still have the supports available as needed.  This sort of housing is a gap in the service we provide at NOW and is also challenging to find within our community. They have been operating out of the shelter since 2002 and have a great relationship with the neighbours, therefore such a development would attract minimal (if any) NIMBY issues.

NOW are also developing our programs – the Essentials Program being the one currently in focus. Essentials is a four-month recovery program which comprises safe housing, group life skills sessions and individualized client support/case planning.  As a result of generous funding from the Stober Foundation, NOW is able to offer the Life Transitions program to participants as part of the curriculum. Through constant evaluation of the program, it has been determined that a full time mental health worker would be of huge benefit to program participants to help stabilize their mental health and give them more tools to remain safe, healthy and focused on their recovery.  This is a big part of the puzzle that we are currently missing. Therefore, this is another area of expansion which we desire to see come to fruition.

What makes NOW unique is our continuum of care. We can support women (many with children) from emergency shelter to independent living with housing and programming.  While the hope is that people move forward through the continuum, it is also important to recognize that people relapse.  Therefore, our continuum provides a safety net for those situations, so females can remain at NOW and get the help they need. 

NOW remains focused on its mission and vision, partners with many organizations in the community and is always looking to grow, so we can better serve our community.  We are an integral part of the delivery of social services in Kelowna and our province.

The community certainly needs to know more about us! We are not a national organization, and have a small staff team.  We do not see this as a negative thing as we can keep our identity, are in a position to be able to expand within our mandate and we not be restricted by the politics/restrictions of an umbrella organization.   

However, we do not have dedicated dollars for promotions/advertising or staff available to promote us amongst those who are unaware of our existence.  At the end of the day, we are here to serve our clients and we would rather spend money on trauma therapy sessions or food cards than media awareness. Sadly, our programs usually run at capacity with a waitlist in place, meaning the word about NOW is out there – albeit quietly!

If you’d like to learn more about what they do and the impact they make in the community, please visit their website at www.nowcanada.ca