Since November 2016 I have had the honour of acting as the Executive Director for Broadview Village, a Ministry Unit of The Salvation Army. Over the last 45 years Broadview Village has provided supports and services to individuals identified as having developmental disabilities and/or a dual diagnosis both residentially and in day programs – all within a Christian framework. The concepts of love, grace, acceptance, inclusion and dignity-for-all are central to not only our operating philosophy but also our day-to-day service delivery. We work with people to make their lives better and our lives are made better in return.
In the last three years Broadview Village has been given the opportunity to support more people within the community. In 2016 we added two mental health day programs to this ministry unit - the Transitional Employment Program (TEP) and the People Learning Useful Skills (P.L.U.S.) program. Through these two programs we provide supports to over 140 people. These programs offer people the opportunity to learn social and vocational skills necessary to function within society as well as the opportunity to perform real work for real wages with the support of a professional job coach/counsellor.
In 2017 through 2018 we added several new residences with the assistance of funding from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) to support people who were either homeless, inappropriately placed in treatment beds and/or living in the psychiatric units of hospitals. As a result of MCCSS support, 10 people have received a new home.
In 2019 and 2020, up until the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we created new work opportunities for people with challenging needs through the formation of an affirmative business and a working partnership – each focused on supporting individuals with identified mental health challenges and/or dual diagnosis. It should be noted that these new programs receive no government funding.
As COVID-19 began in March of 2019, Broadview Village had to adapt to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the individuals we support. This, unfortunately, necessitated a cessation of day programs in the traditional sense with the move towards online, individualized, one-on-one supports and/or enhanced supports 24/7 in our residential locations. The programs supporting individuals with mental health challenges made similar shifts with counsellors implementing weekly face-to-face meetings with many of our participants that included meal delivery and weekly assessments related to how individuals are coping with the increased anxiety, medication compliance and issues related to food insecurity/ residential insecurity. As a result of the tremendous effort of our staff, and the tremendous cooperation of the people we support and their families, the results are overwhelmingly positive with only one outbreak in April in one of our residential locations and no related deaths. Despite these positive results, it has to be acknowledged that the isolation, the changes in routine and the lack of access to the community has taken its toll on everybody’s quality of life – staff, families, residents and day program participants alike.
Despite these impacts and the associated challenges, our Ministry Unit has continued to develop. Discussions with MCCSS have been ongoing in relation to new residential opportunities – including an expansion of our Supported Independent Living (SIL) program. Most recently, we were pleased to finalize the inclusion of Booth Supportive Services (BSS) in our suite of services. This exceptional program has been a part of The Salvation Army for many years. Through the hard work of the team of dedicated staff, BSS provides support and services to people diagnosed with mental health disorders and addiction issues with the goal of keeping them housed, holistically healthy and connected with their communities and resources. Through this program, staff “walk beside” their clients as they grow in confidence and skill on their journey to independent living. It is believed that this program will be a very positive compliment to our existing service – allowing us to support more people in need.
From this strong base, and as we begin to move back to a “new normal”, there is a need for us to continue to develop how we provide both our day programs and our residential services. Concepts like social distancing, active screening and contact tracing has drastically changed/will change our models of service delivery. Decreased capacity, new ways of delivering service (such as blended in-person, drop off and virtual supports in day programs), new scheduling with earlier mornings, later evenings and weekend access to day programs are all possibilities. New residential models of support will be explored as well. Any opportunities for increasing the number of people we support will continue to be explored, but with a focus on smaller homes and groupings and the use of non-traditional day program models such as more home-based day program supports. In short, the future is filled with challenges, and at times, these challenges feel daunting. I feel confident however, that the exemplary staff of Broadview Village, with the keen support of our Community Advisory Council, our families and The Salvation Army as a whole, will be equal to these challenges - and, throughout it all, will continue to keep at the core of our belief the concepts of love, grace, acceptance, inclusion and dignity-for-all.
Thank you and God bless,
Arthur (Art) W. Mathews