Working Together helps Harvest House serve people with addiction and mental illness

When one defines “disability,” addictions and mental health issues are often overlooked. The reality is that addictions and mental health issues are illnesses that affect people’s abilities and create barriers to employment.

bruceHarvest House (new window) is a non-profit agency in Moncton, New Brunswick that serves community members who struggle with drug and alcohol addictions, mental illness, anger issues and homelessness.

They have served the city of Moncton for over 19 years, growing to provide services such as an emergency shelter, a community center, and step-up housing. Harvest House has thirteen full time employees, six working part time, as well as three or four staff working on grants.

Harvest House has collaborated with the Neil Squire Society’s Working Together program in order to empower some of their clients who have availed of their services with much success. One thing that was missing from their lives was employment – something that is harder to achieve if you have a criminal record or if you don’t have permanent housing, in addition to addictions and/or mental health issues.

With the Working Together program, Harvest House was able to continue to work with these clients to develop skills related to employment, while continuing to support them as they take on this new challenge and next step in their journey. They were pleased that they have been able to help their clients build on their skill sets, add experience to their resumes and provide employment to clients who may not be able to get a job elsewhere and who are always appreciative of the opportunity.

Additionally, because Harvest House is a non-profit agency, having additional funds for employment allows them to use more funds towards services for our community — a benefit not only to those employed through Neil Squire Society, but to all who use Harvest House services.

One such client to find success with Harvest House and the Working Together program is Bruce. Bruce participated in Harvest House’s Addictions Recovery (new window) program and lived in the Step-Up Housing (new window). He also suffers from ongoing neck pain after breaking his neck in 2012 — something he is able to manage on his own. Bruce has always enjoyed working with his hands and his work experience includes a background in carpentry and maintenance work as well as mechanics and masonry. He had been unemployed and looking for work for eight months prior to his involvement with Harvest House.

Bruce began work by volunteering at Harvest House and later heard that there could be an opportunity for employment with the help of the Neil Squire Society’s Working Together Program. Through the Working Together Program, Bruce has been employed as a Supervisor of the Step-Up housing program where he oversees maintenance work and renovations in the houses that provide safe, clean and stable housing for 32 people in the community.

He is thankful that Neil Squire Society helped him to get a paid position doing what he loves. He finds it rewarding to see the results of his handy work and gets to work alongside his wife.

“Don’t give up,” says Bruce. “There are people in the city that can help. Thank you Neil Squire.”