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Local non-profit welcomes new executive director with first-hand-knowledge of ‘work being done on the ground’

Arbe Myhre is Fraserside Community Services new executive director
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Arbe Myhre, the new Executive Director of Fraserside Community Services Society, poses for a photo. (Submitted photo)

Fraserside Community Service’s new executive director brings a “program-centric lens” into her role.

Arbe Myhre worked for Fraserside for five years before stepping into her new role as the executive director.

“One of the criticisms always had this level would be that there’s a disconnection between leadership and what happens on the frontlines,” Myhre said.

“I understand the work that’s being done on the ground. I’ve come from having done direct service,” Myhre said. “And again, you know, having done a variety of different programs, I think I have a really good understanding of social services in general, how systems kind of come together, how to navigate some of the challenges that we see.”

Fraserside Community Service is a non-profit that provides services to individuals, mainly in New Westminster and Surrey.

“We are unique in our configuration, meaning so we have community living, as one of our departments, mental health is another and social housing is another, usually you don’t see those come together,” Myhre said.

“I think that, you know, that’s probably one of the things that people would reflect on my belief system is meeting individuals where they’re at,” Myhre said. “It’s not about us, it’s really about, you know, how do we do quality of care, while still maintaining, where the individual is and making sure that, they get to define success.”

The White Rock resident started her career 25 years ago at Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam, which was a psychiatric hospital. Her practicum at the hospital opened her eyes to the need for community care.

She learned about the importance of being flexible and not putting people in boxes when it comes to their care.

“Every situation has different contributing factors and again, what that flexibility really allows us the ability to have people define where their future is going to, go, what it’s going to look like having that individualized approach.”

When Myhre started at Fraserside, she was the manager of social housing. At the time, she oversaw the expansion of Fraserside’s supportive housing complex, Peterson Place, which was going up to 87 units.

“We went from just basically a housing site, meaning just having a roof over your head to offering programs and more of a wraparound approach, which I think is more reflective of the housing sector,” Myhre said.

Peterson Place, which now has 93 self-contained units “provides low barrier housing for adults (singles and couples; no children) who are at risk of homelessness,” reads fraserside.bc.ca.

In her first couple of years as the executive director, Myhre aims to increase awareness of Fraserside and its services.

She also wants to expand on what the organization does well: housing.

“I think there’s a misunderstanding in regards to when you say housing,” Myhre said. “We do a lot of supportive housing, which, you know, falls in different stages.” “Peterson would be in our third stage, our family emergency shelter falls under the first stage but we know that there’s a lot more need than what’s just being currently addressed.”

There are conversations about hosing at the provincial and federal level, Myhre said. “We want to be a part of that growth,” she added.

“It is something that we have experience on and again, having served a large demographic, I think that we’re equipped to be able to fill in some of the gaps and as well as, develop more enhanced programs in regards to housing needs, within the communities that were already serving.”

To learn more about Fraserside Community Services visit fraserside.bc.ca.



Anna Burns

About the Author: Anna Burns

I started with Black Press Media in the fall of 2022 as a multimedia journalist after finishing my practicum at the Surrey Now-Leader.
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