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Home For Good Campaign to raise $5M for supportive housing

Majority of the funds raised will go toward helping fund three current supportive housing projects in Guelph

A new Guelph fundraising campaign announced Thursday hopes to raise $5 million to help address homelessness in the community.

The majority of the Home For Good Campaign will be used to fund three supportive housing projects already announced in Guelph: the Grace Gardens affordable housing project on Woolwich Street, the Willow Road supportive housing project and a youth supportive housing project on Bellevue Street.

The $5-million campaign will be the final portion of the $24.3 million dollar cost of the projects. The majority of the funds have already been pledged by various levels of government and a land donation valued at $1.7 million from Skyline.

The Home For Good Campaign was launched at an event Thursday morning at Shelldale Centre. 

The campaign is co-lead by the Guelph Community Foundation and United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin.

The three projects total of 72 supportive housing units.

Glenna Banda, executive director of United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin said the goal is to raise the $5 million by March 2023.

The funds raised will also be used to meet future capital needs at the three sites as well as help fund new initiatives.

“Systems failures, poverty, and sudden life changes like an unexpected job loss are some of the reasons why people find themselves without a permanent home,” said Dominica McPherson, director of the Guelph and Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination. 

“When combined with other challenges like trauma, the stigma of asking for help, and health issues, finding a home can feel impossible.”

“Permanent Supportive Housing is a cost-effective and proven way to help individuals with complex needs find an affordable and safe home with immediate access to the support services they need,” she said.

During the conversation about homelessness Kim Richer, Onward Willow resident, Jason Ashdown co-founder and chief sustainability officer of Skyline Group of Companies and Kristen Cairney, program director of Wyndham House talked about the barriers surrounding homelessness in the community.

“I know for myself as a community member sometimes the system is overwhelming and when you’re in survival mode and you’re worried about your roof over your head or where you’re going to sleep that night. Sometimes all those different barriers to access is really hard,” said Richer, who previously faced homelessness in the 90s.

“It’s a full-time job just trying to get your income and your basic needs met when you’re homeless because there are so many different barriers,” said Cairney.

In the 2021 Guelph-Wellington Point in Time Count 270 are the minimum number of people experiencing homelessness in Guelph-Wellington on October 20, 2021.

There are 62 per cent of people who experienced chronic homelessness in the last year for six months or more.