Tell us about yourself and your position at Bissell!
Hi! I’m Nola Visser, the Manager of Permanent Supportive Housing with Bissell Centre. I have been with Bissell for about a year and a half and in that time have had the opportunity to work with the team at Hope Terrace. Hope Terrace is supportive housing for adults who have been diagnosed with FASD and have experienced houselessness. At Hope Terrace, each resident has their own suite and we have staff on site 24/7 to provide different supports for everyone who lives there. Recently, we have moved into the King Edward Park neighborhood. Before moving here, we were located near the Stadium downtown. My work focuses on working with the team to provide wholistic, wrap around supports for those living in the building and engaging with the community of King Edward Park. I am passionate about community engagement and am looking forward to continuing to build strong partnerships with the King Edward Park Community. Many of my favorite moments so far have been seeing the positive and healthy impact supportive housing has on the residents who live in our building.
How does Bissell provide safe spaces to meet your clients where they’re at?
At Hope Terrace and Bissell at large we cultivate a culture of trust and dignity. We have cultivated this culture by building meaningful relationships with the residents which allows them to feel safe and free to be themselves. In our building we have created a few different safe spaces that help us meet our residents where they are at. In our common area, we have created a welcoming space where residents can come and share a meal together, watch TV, play X-Box, color or simply just hang out with staff. Hope Terrace also has a Snoezelen Room. This room is a multi-sensory room that helps people regulate when they are feeling scared, angry, sad, happy or just need a moment to recalibrate. Many of our residents use this space to meet with staff to talk through difficulties or challenges that come up for them throughout the day. We also work towards ensuring residents feel that their home is safe. This is done through wellness checks and meeting with residents in their home to discuss supports they need or any goals they are looking for us to support them in.
How do Bissell and YESS collaborate to create a community for people who need it most?
YESS and Bissell have begun collaborating by striving to be good neighbors in our communities. Recently, we have begun doing community safety walks. This is an amazing way for our organizations to work together to build a safe and vibrant community for people who are accessing our services. Twice a day, YESS and Bissell, walk through both neighborhoods and pick up any garbage they see. During these walks, we also support any community member who may be looking for support or a safe place to go. We also meet regularly together with multiple different neighborhood groups to advocate and work together so that the people accessing our services feel safe and welcomed, not only in our buildings and programs but in the communities, they live in.
What is one thing you wish the wider community knew about people who access resources like Bissell?
I wish the wider community knew how incredibly innovative, passionate and joyful our residents are. They all bring something unique and special to the table and are looking for different ways to engage in activities and communities using their own strengths.