Umbrella has been providing innovative outreach services in the Greater Victoria area for the past seventeen years.

Those who struggle with substance use issues are particularly receptive to Umbrella’s informal approach, and respond well to outreach team members, all of whom have experienced addiction themselves. People are often reluctant to connect to resources, citing embarrassment and overwhelming bureaucracy as reasons.

Umbrella has an encyclopedic knowledge of community resources, not just addictions, but also mental health, social assistance, criminal justice, child protection and supportive housing. We don’t send our clients to other resources, we take them there. We sit in the waiting room with them, help them to fill out the required paperwork, and coach them on what to expect.

Some clients get well in fairly short order, some move away and, sadly, some die. But many clients require support over a period of years, rather than weeks or months. This means that the total caseload, and overall complexity, of persons served by the Peer Outreach Program continues to increase, year after year. A consequence of this is, where once it was possible to see new clients shortly after referral, it is now much longer before the first face-to-face contact can be made.