Phoenix Society is excited to reveal the name and logo we’ve chosen for Surrey’s newest supportive housing site that is set to open in June.
The Phoenix is an ancient symbol of transformation across cultures. This symbol of rebirth and of beginning anew that not only has to do with individual transformation, but also community transformation.
It is for this reason that Phoenix has named our housing project “The Nest” – it symbolizes a place where individuals can be supported through connection, empowerment and stability.
Through a naming campaign, the new site’s name was suggested by our very own Veronica Muniak who has been with Phoenix Society for six years and currently serves as our Communications and Digital Media Coordinator.
Located at the corner of 80th Avenue and King George Boulevard in Newton, the building will have 40 residences. The program will include 16 supportive recovery units for people who have completed a 90-day treatment program, and the remaining 24 will be for those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The program’s supports will focus on equipping residents in building their skills and becoming more independent.
Rachael Loukas will be managing the new program for Phoenix Society, and we hope you’ll take some time to read about her plans for ‘The Nest.’
Can you tell us your vision for The Nest?
I have worked in the social service field in multiple capacities over the years and have seen many individuals who have fallen through the cracks in terms of accessing the services and supports they have desperately needed. I see us being able to immediately help and support 40 individuals within our Surrey community by meeting them exactly where they’re at within their personal journeys and encouraging them to live a life that is authentic to them. Everyone has a different story, and it is our job to respect and honor those stories.
Tell us about the site, and how it will operate.
The Nest will have 16 supportive recovery beds for individuals wanting to carry on their sobriety into the second phase of their recovery. We will have 24 units where we have the ability to provide safe, stable housing for those experiencing or at risk or homeless. We will have a supportive staff team consisting of Program Assistants, there to help our residents with their daily needs as well as a Case Manager and Mental Health Worker. Access to medication administration, meals, counselling and other psycho-social supports will all be available.
Why is it so important that we offer these types of housing opportunities?
As a community, we need to acknowledge that everyone deserves a right to housing. Having a safe place to call home ultimately provides protection for our physical and mental health and gives people the opportunity to live meaningful, productive lives. There are many programs in the community that offer housing for people in different capacities however, The Nest will be a program of which people can access based on their current needs.
What is your philosophy/approach in running a site like this?
I have multiple approaches. The first being the Vision of Recovery. The recovery community describes this as “the vision, called the Recovery Vision, stipulates that every person, can embark on a journey of healing and transformation and can live a meaningful life while striving to achieve his/her maximum potential.”
The second being Harm Reduction, which The Canadian Mental Health Association has defined as “an evidence-based, client-centred approach that seeks to reduce the health and social harms associated with addiction and substance use, without necessarily requiring people who use substances from abstaining or stopping. Essential to a harm reduction approach is that it provides people who use substances a choice of how they will minimize harms through non-judgmental and non-coercive strategies in order to enhance skills and knowledge to live safer and healthier lives.”
When we incorporate these pillars of support within a building, we are bound to provide a compassionate, pragmatic approach to supporting the residents within our care.
What drew you to this exciting new role? What is your background?
I completed my undergrad degree in technology, specializing in Crime Intelligence analysis and found myself interested in the” who, what, where and why,” moving me further into locking down programs in Criminology, Psychology and Sociology studies. After less than two years of tracking and analyzing patterns, I understood that my interests were not aligned with my academia. I needed to better understand the who and why of what I was tracking. Knowing that I needed to find a deeper recognition and understanding of the community around me, I resigned from my position and applied to British Columbia Corrections.
I started work at Surrey Pre-Trial Service Center as a Correctional Officer. Over time I developed a radical approach of hearing, caring, rapport and trust with many of the most hardened criminals this province knows. Eventually I was offered the opportunity to create and implement a pilot program within the Provincial Corrections system utilizing my radical approach. To say it was a success in eliminating violence on the two most violent living units is a gross understatement. This wasn’t only inspirational but motivated me to work many overtime shifts to ensure the inmates on my units could all be a part of something attached to building their own success stories from almost less than nothing.
After 5 years, I knew I needed a change. A change in the direction of making more of a difference in our community. I worked within the John Howard Society and learned about how we can help people within the community who struggled. I oversaw an outreach program for 2 years and learned my passion was directed towards homelessness, addiction, and recovery.
My hope, determination, and motivation as a Program Manager within The Phoenix Society’s newest program: The Nest is to continue finding new and subtle ways to bring souls to a place where there is something they know is good and realistic in relation to where they are in their own walk. In dealing with a marginalized population, I hope to shed the fear of “baby steps” and create a full belief and understanding that all walkers will find their way when they are ready.
Learn more about the project at letstalkhousingbc.ca/newton.
We are excited to reveal the name and logo we’ve chosen for #SurreyBC’s newest supportive housing site!
The Newton building will have 40 residences; 16 supportive recovery units for people who have completed treatment, and 24 for those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. pic.twitter.com/mK452Oue3R
— Phoenix Society (@Phoenix_Society) May 17, 2021
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