This year, October 10th marks both Thanksgiving and World Homeless Day. Amidst the hardship that continues to deepen among the most marginalized, we can easily descend into despair, but these markers help us to reflect upon and reconnect with the good in our community.

We remind ourselves that our participants are backed by a passionate frontline staff and dedicated supporters like you. For that, we are profoundly thankful.

By now you know that our emergency shelter continues to operate out of a hotel. We expanded our services to more people and have developed competencies serving individuals with complex housing requirements, particularly those with medical conditions, including couples and people with pets.

You may be less familiar with our Housing Stability Program which provides in-home housing supports, helping individuals to obtain housing, maintain stability and achieve wellness and belonging in community.

So let us be thankful for the United Way Elgin Middlesex, for their effective support in the development of this vital program over the last decade, and for its two brilliant, unsung heroes … Jessika Lang and Jenny Butchart!

Jessika Lang and Jenny Butchart, Unity Project Housing Stability Workers

“Everyday I see the stigma, the inequities, the lack of housing in our community. We do our best to navigate these barriers and get results, and I am humbled by how our participants trust us to walk with them through their difficult journey.” Jessika Lang, Housing Stability Worker 

“Our participants identify their own needs and we are there to help address them. We try to model confidence and encourage participants in situations to aid in reclaiming their voice. It’s a partnership, and we’re as accountable to our participants as they are to us.” – Jenny Butchart, Housing Stability Worker

Unity Project’s Housing Stability Program (HSP) is a Housing First response providing moderate to intensive case-management services and supports for individuals with a history of homelessness. Supports are geared to achieve an optimum quality of life – from developing a plan and enhancing life skills, to addressing legal, tenancy, health and mental health needs, and engaging in meaningful activities and building social and community relations. … whatever it takes to achieve and maintain stability, wellness and belonging in community.

There is no timeline on a participant’s journey. Jessika and Jenny can adjust the duration and intensity of engagement with the needs of the participant and make space in the program for new participants once relative stability is achieved.

However, duration of service has become more extended than ever due to forces beyond our control.

“Our own good work is not enough,” says Jessika. “We need change on a systemic level with higher social assistance rates and more deeply affordable housing. It’s rewarding to be the go-to person for anything that is going on in our participants’ lives, and something we need to respect every single day, but we need more support to break through the barriers.”

Jenny agrees. “We are thankful that we can meet people in their homes again and it helps a lot to really be there for them in that way, but the cost of living has sky-rocketed and our participants’ meagre social assistance cheques buy them less and less. Many of our participants can afford about a week and a half of food – then what?”  

And that’s the note we will end on…now what?

As our community prepares to gather with friends and family we ask that you please set a place at your table to help our participants for relief of homelessness.

Give with thanks

Here are THREE ways you can HELP

  1. Forward this page to a friend or family member to help grow our commUnity (share buttons below this list).
  2. Take a collection for World Homeless Day around your Thanksgiving table.
  3. Make your donation to help our participants join the feast (donation button above this list).

*To donate by cheque please make payable to Unity Project and mail Attn: Silvia Langer, Unity Project, 717 Dundas Street, London ON N5W 2Z5

**Please be in touch if you wish to make any special arrangements for your Thanksgiving collection or to discuss your gift and our services. Contact Anita Schipper at [email protected] or call 519.280.5429

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