R Space Program

R Space was introduced in 2012 as a unique program to provide services to persons with developmental disabilities (primarily individuals diagnosed with FASD) who were also facing additional challenges within their lives. The program is considered a complex needs provider, as many of the individuals can present high-risk lifestyles that require the assistance of multiple community resources and the use of risk mitigation strategies. This program incorporates an outreach model of support services along with planned activities, drop-in services and scheduled individual appointments. The R Space program strives to create a safe, welcoming environment where individuals feel a sense of belonging.

Individuals receiving services in our program may be at risk of experiencing homelessness; substance use and/or mental health disorders and criminal justice involvement. Historically, many have had difficulty accessing the community because of their state of intoxication and/or history of criminal or socially unacceptable behaviors. The program focuses on stabilization supports to ensure the individual’s basic needs are met. Once stabilized, the support then focuses on maintaining stability and exploring community opportunities and interests the individual may have. This results in greater inclusion in the community and access to more resources. The program uses a variety of strategies to minimize the likeliness of the Individual relapsing into past struggles. The R Space program is emergent in how it functions, as it reviews what is working and what isn’t and regularly adjusts to meet the current needs of the population we serve. We believe adaptability and progressive thinking are key to achieve a high level of support services.

Peak R Space implements various types of support strategies:

  • Harm Reduction: Peak has been utilizing and adapting various harm reduction models to deliver services. While still experimenting to identify Best Practices, Peak has been successful in achieving improvements in the quality of life for individuals. We have heard from community partners we are often on the leading edge of implementation of harm reduction practices in the community.

  • Medical & Dental: Peak provides access to healthcare while promoting consistency such as visiting the same doctor, which can increase physical, oral, and mental health. Individuals in R Space are supported to access mental health and/or addiction services. A range of medication administration services are provided to individuals who request support in this area.

  • Health & Hygiene: When homeless, people may not have daily access to bathing facilities and places to store personal items. Securing access to a shower, having hygiene products and having clean clothes available make a big difference in people’s lives! Opportunities for a meal or a snack that you’ve made yourself are important skills to acquire or maintain. Peak supports these types of activities through R Space.

  • Community Access: Social inclusion is an optimal goal of this program. Support is provided to help get identification, bus passes, access to government services, and access to the community including healthy activities.

  • Interpersonal Relationships: Healthy relationships are described and modeled to encourage positive experiences—replacing unhealthy relationships with positive support is a key to success. R Space has done this by attempting to build positive relationships amongst the individuals receiving support and encouraging opportunities to connect with friends and family members in a positive environment.

  • Housing & Home: The Peak R Space Program has the opportunity to provide independent living supports to individuals who are experiencing homelessness challenges. Fostering a desire to have and maintain adequate housing is of equal if not higher precedence to providing various supports such as housekeeping, grocery shopping, etc. The program also supports Individuals to get connected with community organizations that specifically support people with their housing needs (Home base, Permanent Supported Housing, Lethbridge Housing Authority, etc.). The program works collaboratively with community partners to meet the needs of individuals in their homes.

  • Cultural Programs: R Space Program puts significant emphasis on culture in their programming, as the majority of the individuals receiving support are aboriginal. The Seven Grandfather Teachings have been incorporated into service delivery and act as the expectation that we all strive to abide by. Having an Aboriginal Elder involved adds dimension, especially in helping to re-establish lost identities and build self-esteem. Incorporating culture into activities such as community culture classes, art classes, playing aboriginal music and movies, visiting historical sites and attending Pow Wows has provided an added richness to service delivery.

  • Funds Administration: Peak provides financial administration services to individuals who struggle with impulse control issues, addictions, and/or homelessness. Individuals supported with Funds Administration have goals to develop a monthly budget and build savings which result in improved quality of life. This has been a key step in helping many individuals maintain housing long-term.

  • Transportation: The R Space program has access to program vehicles specifically designed to support individuals in a safe manner. We understand that individuals experiencing homelessness may not always have access to reliable transportation, yet still need support to attend appointments and access the community.

  • Safe support: The program completes risk assessments on all clients classified as having complex needs. This tool helps us identify potential hazards and provides staff with strategies to reduce the likelihood of them occurring. We generally use a team approach, where staff will work together to provide support to higher-risk individuals or situations. Staff completes an assessment on every Individual prior to engaging in support. We also have a designated triage area upon entering the location that provides a safe place for Individuals to be assessed before entering the general use area.

  • Mail service: Many of the individuals we support may not have a reliable mailing address. The program offers Individuals the use of Peak for their mailing address. When mail arrives, we safely store their mail until they are able to pick it up.

  • Storage lockers: Some clients do not have a home or anywhere to store their belongings. R Space offers clients the opportunity to use lockers to store their possessions. This results in a reduction of lost or stolen items and increases safety for staff and clients.

  • Community Collaboration: R Space believes the best supports come from people working together for a common goal. We work closely with our community partners to meet the needs of our clients. R Space offers a location for other community partners to meet with shared clients if this is in the best interest of the individual. R Space also supports the individual to attend meetings or appointments with our partners in the community.

Contact information:

Mitchel Dibben – Service Coordinator

Phone number: (587) 800-9918

Email: mdibben@peaksupportservices.org