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United Way flows $538,026 in COVID-19 relief

United Way flows $538,026 in COVID-19 relief

Unity Project is thrilled to be one of the 13 charities a grant from United Way Elgin Middlesex, in the amount of $27,429. The Government of Canada released $73.9M, the balance of funding for the $350M ECSF, which is being administered locally in collaboration with United Way Centraide Canada, Community Foundations of Canada and the Canadian Red Cross.

On October 5, 2020, United Way Elgin Middlesex launched a second call for applications for the Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF). The fund provides financial support to charities and other qualified beneficiaries adapting their frontline services to support vulnerable Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, United Way was pleased to share that 13 organizations have been approved for a total of $538,026 in grants to support local programs around London, Elgin and Middlesex. 

This grant comes at a crucial moment. London is in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and will be for quite some time. Individuals experiencing homelessness are not only at an increased risk of contracting the virus, but are also further marginalized without the resources to ensure their safety and wellness. Unity Project will use this funding to purchase masks, hand sanitizer and personal protective equipment for our participants. This will not only help them keep safe in public life, but also empower them as full citizens of our city, with resources in-hand. This, we hope, will allow them to access and enjoy public spaces, such as restaurants or stores, as well as participate in public life. 

We cannot understate just how important this gift is to us. Since moving our main shelter operations to the hotel, we have continually faced new, emerging challenges. Perhaps chief among these challenges is helping our participants with social distancing and adhering to public health policies and recommendations . 

Since our doors opened in August 2003, we have been known as London’s littlest shelter and Canada’s largest participatory shelter. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has significantly affected how we operate. At the hotel,  we increased our typical occupancy, managing rooms, for seniors and those with health conditions which make them most vulnerable to the effects of the virus. Intake has been centralized through the City of London, but Unity Project is still responsible for safeguarding the health and wellness of our participants. We want to see them thrive in their communities and we want to see systems change that will protect individuals experiencing homelessness in poverty.

Thankfully, United Way’s grant will help us realize this goal.
“We are proud to administer the Emergency Community Support Fund locally on behalf of the Government of Canada, alongside the London Community Foundation and their peers in Elgin and Aylmer… This critical investment will ensure rapid relief reaches those who need it most. It’s just one way we’re working together to keep our region strong through an uncertain recovery.” 

– Kelly Ziegner, President & CEO, United Way Elgin Middlesex
 

 
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Sample Letter to Elected Officials

Call to action: sample letter The COVID-19 pandemic exposed system gaps and failures. It also mobilized a system response and my appetite for real change.

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717 Dundas Street
London ON N5W 2Z5

www.unityproject.ca
t: 519.433.8700

Canadian Registered Charity #859628851RR0001

717 Dundas Street
London ON N5W 2Z5

www.unityproject.ca
t: 519.433.8700

Canadian Registered Charity #859628851RR0001

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Sample Letter to Elected Officials

Call to action: sample letter

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed system gaps and failures. It also mobilized a system response and my appetite for real change. I know that I am not alone. We are all in this together! 

I am grateful for the progress that my community has made thus far in protecting homeless individuals.

But London is still in a housing and homelessness crisis and this, in itself, is a public health crisis that demands action. It is a crisis that will grow during this time if we don’t do something about it.

That the $2000 Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) income for people struggling during the pandemic was more than double the social assistance rates for people struggling before the pandemic, really demonstrates that we punish people for being poor. The CERB should be instated as a permanent policy of basic income that provides every Canadian a foundation for stability.

It’s time that we recognize the unique mental and physical health challenges that disproportionately affect people experiencing homelessness and poverty. We need to treat substance use as a health issue ensuring people have access to safe supply and an adequate system of treatment options.

It’s time that we put policy in place that ensures housing as a human right instead of the commodity it is today. Safe, affordable, and adequate housing is the foundation to any person’s ability to be to successful and should be guaranteed for everyone.

Housing, with supports, is the solution to homelessness and income the solution to poverty.

As my elected representative, I beg you to rise from your seat and raise our collective voice in support of humane public policy.

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME and ADDRESS here

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GivingTuesday is today!

Today is GivingTuesday Today is Giving Tuesday, a time when communities can harness the potential of social media and the generosity of people around the

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City of London skyline, photo credit itskdoubt
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Sample Letter to Elected Officials

Call to action: sample letter The COVID-19 pandemic exposed system gaps and failures. It also mobilized a system response and my appetite for real change.

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717 Dundas Street
London ON N5W 2Z5

www.unityproject.ca
t: 519.433.8700

Canadian Registered Charity #859628851RR0001

717 Dundas Street
London ON N5W 2Z5

www.unityproject.ca
t: 519.433.8700

Canadian Registered Charity #859628851RR0001

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$4,745 Raised in Parade of Renovations

The London Home Builders’ Association raised a sizable $4,745 for Unity Project with their 24th Annual Parade of Renovations – October 5, 2014. The Parade gave ticketholders the opportunity to tour 11 home renovation sites across the city and to speak firsthand with the renovators themselves.

Unity Project thanks the LHBA, the renovators and all those kind-hearted homeowners who put up their homes for compassionate display.

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Unity Project unveils heritage gem to celebrate 10 years in permanent home

In celebration of the milestone of Unity Project’s 10th anniversary, Unity Project is proud to unveil the newly restored façade at our Dundas St. property. The $100,000 heritage restoration was made possible by the Save UP Front initiative, which drew support from many generous community partners including London Dental Community Cares, The Home Depot Canada Foundation, the London Advisory Committee on Heritage, and the City of London.

After mounting a heritage plaque on the building, we celebrated the updates to our facility and Unity’s continued success with over 100 community members and held a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the occasion.

The outpouring of support for Unity Project’s restoration reflects our organization’s dedication to building relationships within our community. “The restoration of this heritage gem has demonstrated Unity Project’s commitment to their clients and the neighbourhood, and has left a legacy for our community,” says Sarah Merritt, executive director of the Old East Village Business Improvement Area.

Unity project extends our utmost gratitude to all of the individuals, businesses, and community partners who contributed to UP’s heritage restoration.

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London’s littlest shelter marks big milestone in community contribution

August 11 marked the 10th anniversary of Unity Project opening its doors in the Old East Village.

Though once wrought with controversy, Unity Project has established itself as a respected model for emergency shelter and transitional housing services. “In the eyes of many we were just a bunch of unruly, idealistic kids. Lucky for London, they were half right!” says Chuck Lazenby, Unity Project’s executive director. “Being young helped us to take risks, but we were also smart, hard working and committed to our values.”

Over the past decade, Unity Project has sheltered approximately 5,000 men and women, has provided drop-in services over 180,000 times, and has assisted more than 1,750 individuals obtain housing. Frontline staff have made a minimum 100,000 referrals and volunteers have contributed 125,000 hours. Unity’s shelter environment operates with the values of respect, cooperation, interdependence, and compassion while focusing on the development of participants’ life skills.

“We hope that Unity Project has helped London to see homelessness as a crisis that people experience, caused by poverty and that it does not define a person,” says Lazenby. “We have helped thousands to approach stability and achieve independence, and I am confident that everyone achieves some success during their experience with us.”