peer services

Peer work is embedded throughout RainCity programs: honorarium peer work for participants in our programs, hiring practices that value lived experience, unionized Peer Specialist positions on our outreach and supportive housing teams, and a Peer Service Manager. RainCity Housing works in partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health to provide Peer Specialist services in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.


To promote the proliferation and elevation of Peer Work in relevant and empowering ways at RainCity Housing and across the lower mainland by modelling successes within our agency and in our partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health.


RainCity defines Peers as people who are representative of the diverse population of people we serve. Our Peer Specialists offer mutual learning and support from a lens that reflects distinct experiences and voices often unheard in society. They may have lived experience of recovery from homelessness, substance use, mental illness, or bring other relevant lived experience that can benefit communities and marginalized groups accessing our services.


Peer work is the inclusion of people with lived experience of trauma and adversity in solving problems experienced by people struggling with similar challenges. It’s the practice of using one’s own knowledge of recovery and using that lived experience to promote others’ recovery.

The Peer Services Department provides leadership and support for Peer Specialists working on Vancouver Coastal Health’s Downtown Eastside teams and in our outreach and supported housing programs. It also facilitates Peer work initiatives such as Peer Witnessing Services,  reference groups, and recovery groups throughout the agency.

By including the wisdom and experience of Peer Specialists and people with lived experience in our approach to programming and service provision we can increase hope for recovery and inclusivity for those we serve. This helps us re-envision the ways we approach supporting people through a lens of mutuality and reciprocity allowing us to learn and grow together.



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