Posted on Jul 07, 2020
For people living with mental illness and with low income, sometimes poverty, Options Community Services help them help themselves and, in turn, promotes safe, healthy, vibrant communities. At the Delta clubhouse, Options provides psychosocial rehabilitation programs related to employment, leisure, basic living skills and wellness. It focuses on participants’ strengths and emphasizes a person’s potential for recovery -- recovery as a personal journey rather than a set outcome, developing hope, a secure base and sense of self, supportive relationships, empowerment, social inclusion, coping skills and meaning.
The “Ready to Work (R2W)” project aims to reduce barriers in finding employment post-COVID-19 for those of age 19 years and older by increasing employability among clients experiencing mental illness.
Delta Foundation has provided $8,000 in emergency funding to the Options Ready to Work project.
The funding comes from the Emergency Community Support Fund, during the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn, administered across the country by Community Foundations of Canada on behalf of the Government of Canada, along with two other networks, United Way Centraide and Red Cross.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn, this employment service support is imperative to the needs of the mental health population served. Many have been unable to participate in working towards their vocational goals. The project supports and increases client employability to ensure work-place readiness post-pandemic. 
The Options staff provides a variety of social, recreation, leisure, and educational and employment activities to the clients. The programs enhance opportunities for social connectivity, learning new skills, independence, and recovery support. These programs promote an enhanced quality of life to clients who experience social isolation on a daily basis.
Many clients in the project have never been employed, regularly face gaps in employment, lack references or lack necessary certifications. The current, deteriorating economy has been increasing difficulties in obtaining employment for everyone. The added barriers faced by this population will make the finding employment post-COVID will be magnified. 
The emergency funding will help with purchasing a projector screen for vocational workshops, new laptops and tablets to increase client literacy, build resumes, aid in employment searches and the application process. It will also be used for the provision of required certifications such as FoodSafe, First Aid, and other work-related requirements. For many clients, joining or returning to the workforce is an integral part of the recovery journey. By addressing necessary employability needs, Options helps clients increase eligibility for employment and, in turn, reach their goals.