Everyday Hero: Chimo Community Services

About Chimo Community Services

Chimo has been serving the people of Richmond in crisis situations for more than 40 years.

Chimo currently operates Nova Transition House; crisis line services for 16 hours each day; outreach & advocacy work, including immigration services and income assistance; mental health services; pro bono law clinics; counselling and support services for children and adults who have been affected by violence; and school-based outreach programs on issues such as suicide awareness, stress management, and communication skills.

 

Chimo has a current annual operating budget of approximately $1.5 million. Chimo employs approximately 30 staff and over 200 volunteers.  Chimo programs are funded by: the Government of BC ($406,000), BC Housing ($530,000), Vancouver Coastal Health ($283,000), the City of Richmond ($48,000), the Law Foundation of BC ($75,000), United Way ($45,000), and corporate, foundation, community, and private grants and donations ($60,000). For more information, visit www.chimoservices.com.

 













200+ Vancouverites gathered at the stunning Birks downtown retail shop to give support to women and children fleeing domestic violence and abuse on friday, November 28th at the Chimo Community Services fundraising gala.

An event catered by Sala Thai and a fashion show sponsored by Gianni Maanaki. 
Breakfast Television host Dawn Chubai and OMNI TV anchor Bowen Zhang served as MCs for a program featuring the best of local musical talent including a beautiful piano performance by Tom Lee Music young pianist Louis Wei, and Whitney Houston worthy singing performance by Jerrica Santo accompanied by pianist Trevor Hoffman. There were close to 60 silent auctions, which didn't get as much action as they could have despite being great bids, the most excitement of the night was the fashion.  Every piece was exquisite and breathtaking, from the graceful models, to the design and every intricate detail, it was done to perfection!I was able to interview the organizers of Chimo Community Services, a donor (Linda recently immigrated to Vancouver from China, and donates to Chimo, her daughter Lily will volunteer with Chimo shortly) and Tom Lee Music and Birks who are sponsors, it seemed that domestic abuse affect people of all walks of life in all income categories.  It's wonderful to see various parts of the community stepping up to lent their support.

All proceeds from the event will benefit Chimo’s push for second stage housing services, building on the success of Nova Transition House. Located in Richmond, Nova House provides a safe harbor for women and children fleeing domestic violence and abuse. Upon leaving Nova House, women and children face a critical shortage of second stage housing options that allow them to live independently.

“We are proud of our success in providing a safe place for these women at Nova Transition House,” said Janet Woo, Crisis Line Coordinator for Chimo. “With community support, we will be able to extend our services into second stage housing options that include emotional, financial, medical and legal support for some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”

 

About Chimo Community Services

Chimo has been serving the people of Richmond in crisis situations for more than 40 years.

Chimo currently operates Nova Transition House; crisis line services for 16 hours each day; outreach & advocacy work, including immigration services and income assistance; mental health services; pro bono law clinics; counselling and support services for children and adults who have been affected by violence; and school-based outreach programs on issues such as suicide awareness, stress management, and communication skills.

Chimo has a current annual operating budget of approximately $1.5 million. Chimo employs approximately 30 staff and over 200 volunteers.  Chimo programs are funded by: the Government of BC ($406,000), BC Housing ($530,000), Vancouver Coastal Health ($283,000), the City of Richmond ($48,000), the Law Foundation of BC ($75,000), United Way ($45,000), and corporate, foundation, community, and private grants and donations ($60,000). For more information, visit www.chimoservices.com.

 

BACKGROUNDER:

Chimo Community Services currently operates Nova Transition House in Richmond.  Nova Transition House is a safe place for women and children who are fleeing domestic violence and abuse.  Nova House has 10 beds available for women and their children, who can stay for up to 30 days.  Nova House is currently the only transition house in Richmond.

From April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014, Nova House sheltered 101 women.  Below is a breakdown of what happened to these women after their stay at Nova House:

  • Only 9 women went on to second stage housing.
  • 7 women went on to another transition house.
  • 20 returned to their previous residence that they fled originally
  • 30 moved on to other accommodations, mostly outside of Richmond.
  • 20 women left without advising of their intended destination.
  • 15 women were asked to leave for breaching rules or were ineligible for transition services.

In summary, the overall number of women who went on to second stage or other transitional housing is only 16%. This is due to the challenge of finding suitable/available second stage housing options in the surrounding area. The majority of women (50%) end up either returning to their previous residence or moving on to alternative housing outside of Richmond.

 

Second Stage Housing

 

Second Stage Housing supports women who have left abusive relationships to make plans for independent living.

Second Stage Housing provides safe, short-term (typically 6-18 months) independent housing. Second Stage Houses also provide assistance with accessing support services, including financial, medical, and legal assistance. They provide services similar to those provided in transition houses, including emotional support and crisis intervention.

There are currently three second stage houses in Vancouver, four in Surrey, two in Victoria, one in Abbotsford, one in Burnaby, and one in North Vancouver.  These are the Second Stage houses where we refer our Nova House residents.

 

Next Steps

 

Chimo Community Services’ Board of Directors has made it a strategic priority for the organization to embark on an initiative to address the need for second stage housing in the Lower Mainland, starting in Richmond.

 

Short term

 

On a temporary basis, Chimo has been providing Second Stage options to women fleeing domestic violcence and abuse.  A local home builder (Balandra Developments) has provided access to a home that was purchased with the intent of demolition and building a townhouse development in its place.  Over the last 4 months, Chimo has placed 6 single women fleeing family violence in this home, and they pay rent directly to the builder.  Chimo has been providing support services to these women and assisting them with finding long term housing solutions.  The house is scheduled for demolition on December 1, 2014.

Chimo has applied for Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) funding as part of a planned capital project to create second stage housing in Richmond.  Chimo Community Services intends to purchase an existing residential house in Richmond. 

The project will be a partnership between Chimo, HPS (Metro Housing/Government of Canada), BC Housing, and the City of Richmond.  Chimo will explore a purchase price of approximately $1,000,000.  Renovation costs and life safety upgrades will be approximately $150,000.  Chimo will adjust the purchase price and renovation costs to ensure the overall project does not exceed $1,150,000.  Chimo will also continue to review offers of in-kind renovation services.

The home will be a second stage house for single women fleeing family violence. First referrals will be women from Chimo’s Nova Transition House; other residents will be referred from other transition houses in BC.  Women will be able to stay in the house for up to 12 months.

 

Long term

 

In the City of Richmond today, there are a total of 20 short-term emergency beds for persons in need. This includes the Richmond House emergency shelter for men (10 beds) and Nova Transition House. Both the shelter and the Nova House have a 30-day stay limit. An additional 22 beds are available in times of extreme weather (16 beds at St. Alban Anglican Church,6 beds at Richmond House).

With the exception of 24 placements for mental health-related clients, there is currently no long-term transitional, second stage, or supportive housing addressing the needs of the homeless in Richmond. Recent  reports conducted by the City of Richmond, as well as our clients’  experiences, indicate that there is a strong disparity between the number of individuals in need and the availability of supportive housing.

As of July 2014, the Greater Vancouver Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness (RSCH) recorded a total of 38 cases of homelessness in Richmond. Among those counted in 2014, women represent 27% of Richmond’s counted homeless population; seniors 29%; Aboriginal persons 16%; while children and unaccompanied youth represent 5%. While the homeless counts are typically understood to reflect an undercount of the true number of homeless individuals, women, in particular are considered to be undercounted. These numbers do not reflect the hidden homeless, living in unsafe situations, couch-surfing, or staying temporarily with family and friends.

In light of these findings, there is evidence for the need to further extend the capacity of local organizations to provide emergency, supportive, and transitional housing for Richmond’s homeless and at-risk populations. Chimo will continue to work to address these issues through the pursuit of multiple affordable housing options in Richmond. 

 

Chimo Community Services Facts

Chimo has been serving the people of Richmond in crisis situations for more than 40 years.

Chimo currently operates Nova Transition House; crisis line services for 16 hours each day; outreach & advocacy work, including immigration services and income assistance; mental health services; pro bono law clinics; counselling and support services for children and adults who have been affected by violence; and school-based outreach programs on issues such as suicide awareness, stress management, and communication skills.

Chimo has a current annual operating budget of approximately $1.5 million. Chimo employs approximately 30 staff and over 200 volunteers.  Chimo programs are funded by: the Government of BC ($406,000), BC Housing ($530,000), Vancouver Coastal Health ($283,000), the City of Richmond ($48,000), the Law Foundation of BC ($75,000), United Way ($45,000), and corporate, foundation, community, and private grants and donations ($60,000).

Last Updated ( Friday, 12 December 2014 )
 
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