Program Spotlight: RallyForward

Updated: Sep 15


Background


The RallyForward program was established in October 2017, as a result of a merger between the former Moving Forward and RallyHaven programs. The RallyForward program reflects the Housing First philosophy and the identified need to provide a continuum of services to young people. Youth in the program have a choice in the type of housing they access, and are able to receive intensive case management supports - meaning smoother transitions between services, better shared resources, and high impact services that give young people choice in the types of supports they wish to avail of.


Young people involved with the RallyForward program receive assistance in learning valuable like skills based on their specific area of need. The unique circumstances of each individual requires a flexible and holistic approach to support young people in independent living.



Community Connection


For many young people in our community, being able to meet their basic needs, navigating the housing and income support systems, staying connected to education or training, and receiving mental health supports can be challenging on a regular day. But, over this past year this has become even more vital and difficult as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless, the RallyForward program continues to focus on providing vulnerable young people in our community with access to affordable housing, paired with a system of supports aimed at eviction prevention and intensive case management. Working from a flexible and holistic approach, the team was able to alter the way these supports and services were offered during the pandemic, and worked diligently to ensure every single program participant had access to essential services to help them navigate these unprecedented times safely.


“I have been with the RallyForward program for two years. They have been more than just supports for me, they were my family. No, not blood relatives but family, the kind that would stick by your side through not only the good times but the bad as well. The kind of family that showed up and claimed you whether you were in shackles, pajamas, hospital gown or a graduation suit.” - RallyForward participant

It is not just the young people who deserve to be recognized for their resiliency but also the staff who show up on a daily basis, putting aside their own fears and anxieties to ensure the young people have what they need to be successful. While many supports and services have switched to online platforms and some drop-in centres closed, the pressures to see young people stably housed increased drastically. While physical distancing measures made it difficult to navigate systems, the RallyForward staffing team continued to connect with vulnerable youth in our community and remain committed to ensuring their basic needs are met. This level of commitment is recognized and very much appreciated.



Impact


Last year, the RallyForward team housed 34 young people through the program, and the team provided 3,471 home visits to help young people manage their households.


In addition to housing support, residents also received 6,015 individualized check ins, and were provided 538 meals during individual and group programming.


Staff worked closely with young people to help them work towards their goals. This included 504 interventions to assist with employment related goals; 304 interventions for educational related goals; 1369 interventions related to mental health supports; and 226 interventions to navigate the justice system.


Staff drove 53,690kms within the St. John’s and surrounding area to ensure young people had access to these services - that's more than a trip around the world! - but worth it to help young people on their personal journey.


At RallyForward, we know that when young people experience homelessness they become more vulnerable to mental health concerns, substance use challenges and criminal exploitation. When young people have safe housing, overcoming these barriers becomes easier – especially when you they have access to the level of intensive supports offered through RallyForward.



The Future is Bright


“Now that I am going out on my own, I could write a book of what RallyForward has done for me but that is not necessary, the memories and lessons learned are enough. You would have to be a part of this program to what they are really all about and what they do because it cannot just be seen, but felt.” -RallyForward participant


If you have any questions about the RallyForward program, please reach out to RallyForward Program Coordinator Susan Crawford at scrawford@choicesforyouth.ca.


Could you or someone who know benefit from supportive housing and additional supports in our community? Please find the pre-referral for RallyForward here.

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