Coast Mental Health has been named a top employer. (Special to The News)

Coast Mental Health has been named a top employer. (Special to The News)

Non-profit running supportive housing in Maple Ridge named top employer

Coast Mental Health wins provincial honour for the first time

A non-profit that works with the homeless population in Maple Ridge has been named a top employer.

Coast Mental Health (CMH), a registered charity, earns a place on BC’s Top Employers list for 2021. This is the first time the organization has been recognized with this award from The Career Directory.

Coast is based in Vancouver, but operates three supportive housing facilities in Maple Ridge: Alouette Heights, Royal Crescent and Garibaldi Ridge on Burnett Street.

“The BC Top Employer award is an opportunity for us as an organization to celebrate all the amazing contributions of our employees,” said Darrell Burnham, CEO of CMH. “This award recognizes the hard work of our essential front-line workers who continue to provide exceptional client care during challenging circumstances.”

READ ALSO: Garibaldi Ridge housing open in Maple Ridge

Over the last three years, CMH has seen significant organizational growth, recruiting on average 150 people a year. For fiscal 2019/2020, the organization reported 779 employees (part-time, full-time and casual workers). Many of these recruits are front-line health-care workers who live and work in the communities served by the organization. With 52 facilities across Greater Vancouver, and over 1,371 housing units, many of CMH’s workforce provide essential daily supports to people living with mental health challenges.

As a non-profit in the healthcare sector, CMH depends on a skilled workforce to ensure the best quality of care is available to support people during their recovery. Deborah Maynard, the director of Human Resources at CMH said staff thrive best when they’re learning and developing their skills.

“We know our employees are continuous learners, so we encourage staff to develop their skills and take on new roles throughout the organization,” said Maynard. “With a variety of housing models and services across Coast, employees have lots of opportunities to stretch and grow in their professions.”

Providing a healthy work-life balance for employees also includes health and wellness initiatives at CMH. Maynard explained that working in healthcare may be both rewarding and challenging due to the physical and emotional requirements of the job.

“We deeply value the contributions of our employees, so we want to be able to give them the tools they need to manage their wellness, but also to build resiliencies to be successful throughout their careers,” said Maynard.

READ ALSO: Homeless shelters in Maple Ridge not filling up in freezing temperatures

CMH has a number of healthy work-life balance initiatives in place to support employees. This includes a comprehensive health benefit package and family assistance plan, online counselling supports, as well as regular health and safety workshops. Employees also benefit from being members of BC’s Municipal Pension Plan, one of the largest pension plan providers in Canada.

“We enjoy celebrating our people, special occasions and successes here at Coast Mental Health. There always seems to be an impromptu gathering at one of our sites, which for some reason includes a tasty potluck and some sort of costume,” said Maynard. “Our staff work really hard, but as a family we also know when it’s time for some laughter and a little bit of silliness.”

Other organizations with operations in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows that made the list of top employers in the province for 2021 included Coast Capital Savings, Fraser Health and Save-on Foods.

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