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In 2016, Vitanova developed a questionnaire that permits us to take a “snapshot” of our clients—as it is a collection of aggregate data that gives us a picture of our average client at a specific point in time. The first snapshot was taken in February of 2016, the latest in March of 2017.

HIGHLIGHTS: 2016 vs. 2017 

  • Clients surveyed in 2017 are on average eight years older than 2016 clients
  • A higher percentage (2017: 90% v. 2016: 78%) describe themselves as school “dropouts”
  • They appear to have less faith in added education as a ticket to success in life, perhaps a function of their greater age
  • More 2017 clients were unemployed prior to coming to Vitanova, and for longer periods than 2016 clients.
  • More of them owned their own homes (50% vs. 30%) at one time, but the percent who still own a home is unchanged from year to year: around 13%
  • Fewer have had encounters with the criminal justice system (down from 90% to 67%)

Here are the details of what are sometimes called the social determinants of our clients health:

Education: Of our current clients, 90% are male. The age of the average client is 39, eight years older than the average client when surveyed in February 2016. Fully one-third received some form of post-secondary schooling, but half of those did not complete their studies at that level. Indeed, nearly 90% of clients describe themselves as “dropouts” at some time or another. When asked to rate on a ten-point scale their odds of future success if they returned to school after completing their program at Vitanova, the average score was 6.8. This suggests that, perhaps given their age, they have a diminished faith in the benefits of further education.

Employment:  The average ages at which clients began part-time and full-time work were 14 and 17, respectively. On average, the highest annual salary ever earned by clients was $78,000. Yet, 70% of all clients were unemployed for an average of more than four years (51 months) prior to coming to Vitanova, though less than a quarter collected Employment Insurance (and those who did, did so for just under eight months). Three-quarters identified lack of work as one of the reasons they sought help at Vitanova. When asked to rate their odds of future employment success after attending at Vitanova, the average score was 8.1.

 Self-Employment:  Slightly more than 10% of clients were self-employed when they came to Vitanova. Of these, a third of their businesses are carrying on in their absence, with 13% of these clients continuing to earn money from the business.  When asked to rate chances of success in terms of future self-employment after Vitanova, the average score was 5.9.

 Referral: Those clients who were referred to Vitanova as part of a union or employee benefit plan rated their experience at Vitanova at 6.8 in terms of importance to continued full-time employment once discharged.

 Financial Status: On average, clients have $39,000 in savings, but more than $90,000 of debt, almost 20% of which is owed illegally. Nearly 50% of clients once owned their own homes; now just 13% do so. Only a third have ever had any formal financial literacy training, When asked to rate the financial literary training offered at Vitanova, the average score was 5.2

 Financial Supports: Nearly one-quarter of clients are receiving some sort of social support while at Vitanova. When asked to rate their experience at Vitanova in reducing the likelihood of needing such supports in the future, the score was 7.1

 Shelter:  Of those living at Vitanova, over a quarter were in fact homeless when they started treatment, while the balance were at risk or threat of becoming homeless if they did not seek some form of help. Fully 86% indicate they have a place to go to, after completing their recovery. Of these, two thirds have a permanent place to return to, the balance a temporary location

 Transition: Half of currently sheltered clients wish to remain at Vitanova after completing treatment, in order to first find employment (as half have no job to return to) and save funds needed for future rental costs. Their estimate of the time needed to find employment is just under three months. When asked to rate the importance of our transition program to securing permanent housing, the average score was 7.8

Criminal Justice Issues:  Two-thirds of clients have been charged with criminal offences, on average eight times, with one third accessing legal aid on average nine times. When asked to rate the importance of treatment at Vitanova in reducing the likelihood of future encounters with the criminal justice system, the score was 6.9.

Family and Friends: The average client counts six people as comprising his/her immediate family, with over 60% indicating the relationship is “average” or “mixed”. The balance (20% either way) view relations as “poor-to-bad” or “good-to-excellent”. In any event, only a quarter of clients have family or friends who attend support groups at Vitanova. Over two-thirds of clients indicate that their drug use has caused “serious” or “permanent” damage to their relations with family and friends. Clients describe one-third of their friends as drug-users. When asked to rate the importance of treatment at Vitanova in restoring relations with family and friends, the score was 8.2

Spirituality: Ninety-six percent of clients identify as Christians; half of these view themselves as “practicing”. Over 50% of all surveyed have participated in spirituality groups only, 13% in religious services only, and 33% in both groups and services.  When asked to rate the importance of some form of spirituality to recovery, the score was 8.1.