The Mustard Seed is expanding support programs at its Edmonton location as the demand for wrap-around services continues to grow.
In Calgary, The Mustard Seed has been working with other providers and agencies in the community for five years to offer services that help with things like financial security, taxes, food security, housing security, employment and legal guidance. They also offer allied health support — like occupational health, mental health and addiction counselling and an adult FASD assessment program.
Moreover, the organization offers basic necessities like shelter and meals.
Now, the Edmonton Mustard Seed is going to be adding more services.
“There’s significant demand,” explained Samantha Lowe, director of health and wellness at The Mustard Seed.
“With the opening of our new centre, we’re hoping to also provide occupational therapy as well as counselling supports. We’ve already heard and received referrals towards both, just with the community increasingly knowing about the services that we will be providing in later 2022.”
Lowe explained this kind of wrap-around care is more preventative than reactionary. By using an average $21 per service per individual, the group can help improve people’s quality of life and reduce pressure on the acute care health system.
“For instance, if somebody experiences diabetes but they’re unable to have secure housing or appropriate food, they can go into a clinic and have treatment for wounds or some challenges that they’re having in relation to the diabetes, but without the additional wraparounds that they can receive or additional counselling, they may end up in the emergency room.”
Lowe said The Mustard Seed will apply learnings from its Calgary location to its Edmonton centre.
A big focus, she said, will be providing complimentary services to both medical and social services available in the city.
“And making sure that we have a reduced barrier to access to our services. We’ll take referrals, not only from physicians, clinics, other social service agencies, but from clients themselves, to walk in and just be able to access our services – no questions asked.”
Anyone who is underserved by the health system can access support services at The Mustard Seed, she said.
“That can be those experiencing homelessness, those who are precariously housed, recent immigrants, refugees.
“There are challenging systems to navigate and we recognize that it’s not a certain target population that we focus on, but rather anybody who’s currently underserved by our health-care system,” Lowe said.