Breaking Barriers

An integrated approach to service delivery.

The Breaking Barriers Program

An integrated approach to service delivery across our shelter, housing and drop-in programs.

The Breaking Barriers Program is an integrated approach to service delivery across our shelter sites, pandemic response shelter sites, transitional housing sites and drop-in programs.  A specialized team of case-managers provide leadership, programming, wrap-around support and referrals in the areas of:

  • Life Management
  • Health & Wellness
  • Income Security
  • Housing

Breaking Barriers is accessible to all program participants and shelter residents of CONC. Case managers work closely with their clients to formulate individually tailored case plans, helping them set short and long-term goals to stabilize the client and develop the skills, tools and resources necessary for them to thrive.

All four Breaking Barriers case management teams also work collaboratively with local community stakeholders to build and develop the ecosystems necessary to coordinate and provide programming, workshops and resources across all CONC shelter sites, pandemic response shelter sites, transitional housing sites and drop-in/food-security programs.

Life Management

Life management case managers develop case plans with clients – usually within 72 hours of a client arriving on-site, with the goals of working with the client to achieve positive change and personal growth. Life management case workers can assist the client with:

  • Clothing donations
  • Replacing or obtaining Identification (Health Card’s, Ontario Photo Cards, Passports etc.)
  • Obtaining a SIN number
  • Opening a bank account
  • Getting a haircut
  • Getting a library card
  • Setting up an email account
  • Navigating online banking
  • Hygiene products
  • Obtaining legal support services
  • Applying for record suspensions

Health and Wellness

Health & Wellness case managers are dedicated to helping our clients improve their physical health, mental health and overall wellbeing. Whether it is a client with a substance use disorder that needs stabilization or a client who needs a dental appointment – the Health & Wellness team works closely with the client to heal and strengthen their mind, body and spirit.

Working with the Health & Wellness case managers, clients can access services, programs, referrals and resources such as:

  • Primary healthcare
  • Harm Reduction supplies and information.
  • Methadone and other opioid substitution replacement therapy programs.
  • Mental health care
  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity
  • Optometry appointments
  • Assistance with obtaining glasses
  • Dental appointments
  • Dealing with substance use problems
  • Assistance obtaining hearing aids
  • Foot Care
  • Psychiatry
  • Finding a GP or family doctor.
  • COVID-19 testing

At the Rexdale pandemic response shelter site – the Health & Wellness case managers works closely with the Inner City Health Associates (ICHA) – providing clients with on-site access to a registered nurse, a nurse practitioner, a Doctor and a Psychiatrist – three times a week.


Income Security 

Income Security case managers work closely to support clients who are facing barriers to economic participation – and helping the client break through those barriers. Income Security case managers assist the client with a range of different supports and referrals, including:

  • Education (obtaining a GED, applying for academic upgrading etc.)
  • Apprenticeships and Training
  • Income eligibility and entitlements (applying for Ontario Works or ODSP)
  • Social enterprise and supported employment
  • Self-Employment
  • Volunteering
  • Assistance with taxes.
  • Resume-writing
  • Assistance writing cover letters

Sustainable Housing

A place to call home is one of the most important things for us as human beings. At CONC -Housing case managers provide the support and services necessary to help clients access a diverse range of housing option, from the private market to transitional housing to subsidized rentals. Case managers support clients through:

  • Individualized housing plans that respect the client’s personal needs and autonomy.
  • Eviction prevention
  • Accompanying clients to housing appointments and viewings
  • Building relationships with landlords in the community
  • Assistance with applications for Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC), transitional and supportive housing applications.

We believe that the integrated approach of the Breaking Barriers program has been central to our ability to provide the assistance our clients ask for. The success we have had in facilitating the transition from homelessness to sustainable housing is due to the tremendous staff we have working in all four areas of the program. The net result is that when a person is housed by our staff, he or she has the supports to remain housed and be ready for the opportunities ahead. In 2020, our Breaking Barriers Team housed 107 clients. In 2021, we are aiming even higher!

© Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre. Charity Registration Number: 898720651RR0001

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