Suitable Housing for Rehab Centre or Shelter Agencies Available

Sign campaign an issue raiser
Well, the Ontario election has come and gone. It seemed like one of those things that happened so quick, that I barley got into the nitty gritty of who was promising to do what to whom etc. In the end, I'd decided against doing a pre-election blog about the parties, partly because I myself am so disgruntled with the whole political system. I did mention though, that I no longer vote for the party, but the person I feel I can most influence to affect change. Why must an issue with these folks always be black & white - for or against - but rarely any compromised, truly collaborative solutions? I see the same sorts of things happening amongst social service and other 'help" agencies who often have to stretch their mandates to work 'collaboratively" - a term that's been bandied about a lot - but in the end, the often educated, sophisticated boards members are too far removed to really know on the ground floor what will and will not work long term, or is or isn't proper / dignified. And they have to care or they shouldn't be sitting.

Tom visited with Chris Ballard during election run up
Step out work training programs needed
The York Region area boards for shelters, non-profits, and charities are still mostly bare of any meaningful grass roots membership, and even the ones that did, have lessened the numbers, such as "Operation Sparrow" which has morphed into Newmarket Cares - a Georgina Cares type of model now but which at one time had several g.r. representatives. I vice-chaired the committee for a year, and chaired  it for four more, always making sure grass roots membership was there if someone left, as it was like educating the " non- lived experienced" members in itself at times - like a board member wanting to deliver an application to someone face to face instead of by mail. I know why -  one get that satisfaction from a face - but it's not part of keeping the family's dignity intact. Families deserve protection from indignities as much as possible. To qualify candidates for placement, we asked already for a lot of personal information, such as all their employment / tax return information. My experience was always that we'd get a letter from a profusely happy parent thanking us for what we'd done which I'd read out as they came in at meetings. That, I had said, would have to suffice to appease that need to feel appreciated. I also do not go for shots of the kids in the 'programs" just to promote it and we never did.
election now in rearview
I'd had to explain ( to board members) the concept that applicants often are embarrassed already about their situation, and likely low self esteem because of it, and that the mission was to enable kids ( not get self gratification) so let's stick to the program as it were - without extra scrutiny. The program also placed kids, without special kids labels, amongst their peers in ongoing extra curricular activities like arts, karate and sports without anyone the wiser- including the kids of the parents if they choose not to share that with them - that they got in free, while their peers' families paid. This eliminates any distinction, hurt, or embarrassed feelings, and, most importantly, helps keeps the kids' esteem intact.

But the committee served to offer a true "collaboration" of ideas and solutions. It's just too bad Y.R. doesn't get that, because for me, that is what made this program set-up so good was because it included the voices of those from experience. The application process was a system that eliminated embarrassing face to face meetings,  and it was those original grass roots members on the board who gave the input leading to the program being one of the best and most dignified ever devised. It's now morphed into " Newmarket Cares", but for any board or organization to be truly affective, not to mention fairly representative, this is an essential component.

Y.R. Housing Tenant Reference Group a good starting point
Y.R. need look only to it's own experimental model of a "board" with it's Y.R. Housing Tenant Reference Committee", a combination of management, staff and residents that discuss and implement how to best improve tenant and housing relations and operations. An example of grass roots input here such as one instance where a live-in resident member noticed a trend towards furniture etc being thrown on the curbs and nearby forest and approached YR Housing with an idea to have an annual community "clean up", including bringing in bins for tossing unwanted items. As an annual, people know to wait now, and this served to not only maintain and clean up the area but also create an atmosphere of neighbours meeting neighbours in a natural community setting. It is now practised across Y.R.york Region on their properties as part of the yearly maintenance and saves $ thousands of dollars for everyone! That's efficiency.

Anyway...something to think about...and I mention boards and the like today also for another reason, some may remember the "House Of Hope" a few years back where we took some skilled guys and added some labourers learning a trade - some living in shelters or on the streets - to help complete a great job. During the time period that the house was being fixed up we drew lots of attention to the issue and the fact that it had 15 apartments, perfect for a shelter or low income housing or co-op living of some sort! 

The house has, for years, been some kind of rehabilitation center or another. In the past 4 years it served the community as a youth rehab centre, and for 11 years before that, ran as a Crosslinks house for people with mental health afflictions. It is beautiful and it's location is C2 zoned.

" House Of Hope" available for right tenant
I have an opportunity NOW to let others know it's available again - BEFORE IT GOES ON ANY REAL ESTATE LISTING!

Natural light and view in every unit.
So if you are an organization or know of one looking for a prime lease location, just outside Newmarket in Sharon, Ontario that may be suitable then contact me or at 289-221-0928 and I'll set you up for a viewing. It could also be an opportunity for a new idea or group which is looking to cover a gap not being filled - like perhaps housing for youths coming from foster care or some other idea. I loved the original "House of Hope" idea, but funds would likely be too far in the future to make that a reality without some added $, so essentially this 8,000 square foot home and 8 acres of property is prime for the pickings to the right fit!  

More House Info and photos here.

TP Out!