Homelessness is a crisis a person experiences; it does not define the person.
Unity Project is a registered charity #859628851RR0001 governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and a team of over 40 staff members. Housing First principles are actioned by promoting self-determination and choice, applying a harm reduction and trauma-informed approach, employing Motivational Interviewing and assertive engagement practices, providing individualized and strengths-based support, emphasizing housing as a basic human right, and focusing on moving individuals from shelter to permanent housing with wraparound supports as quickly as possible. Staff use the Homeless Individuals and Families Information System to support a collaborative and shared case management approach.
Board of Directors
Dirka Prout, Chair
Amanda Grzyb, Past-Chair
Paula Lombardi, Secretary
Csaba Hegedus, Treasurer
“Born in tents in a downtown park…
raised in a compassionate community.”
In the summer of 2001, a group of youth activists and homeless individuals formed a tent city in a downtown park to raise public awareness of a desperate situation. The community experience that developed led to the initiation of the Unity Project – a shelter service with a peer-supported community model. With the support of hundreds from every walk of life and a generous grant from the City of London the Unity Project was able to purchase and open its facility in the heart of Old East Village in London Ontario. Since then, Unity Project has been a consistent contributor in providing vital social services for London and area and helped thousands of men and women to approach stability and restore wellbeing.
With the emergence of Housing First in the previous decade and a greater emphasis on supporting housing stability among homeless serving organizations, Unity Project recognized the mandate of emergency shelters must expand to provide services that prevent experiences of homelessness. We developed an Emergency Shelter Housing First Toolkit in 2017 to outline a Housing First Emergency Shelter Model and inform the re-design of our services to create a direct path from homelessness to housing for shelter residents. In 2018, Unity Project transitioned to operating fully as a housing focused emergency shelter using this comprehensive, innovative model that helps residents secure and maintain stable housing.
Founding Members Tribute
We honour the Action Family and core founding members for their compassion, determination and fight. The largely youth who took risks and put themselves on the frontline of this struggle, including those as young as 15 and 16 years old, were smart, hard working and very committed to the cause. Their sacrifice was significant and we recognize their accomplishment.
August 12, 2022.
We grew from a tent city protest in a downtown park in the summer of 2001 and opened doors at our permanent facility in the summer of 2003. Since then, Unity Project has been a consistent provider of emergency shelter and supportive housing for London and area and has helped thousands of community members at risk of or experiencing homelessness work towards housing stability, restore well-being, and exit homelessness.
UP Turns 20: From Tent City Protest to Unity Project Manifest. Watch the video.