Silvia Langer, Development Director and Chuck Lazenby, Executive Director of Unity Project standing beside some of the new pallet shelter homes

UPwithART | May 4, 2024

Mark your calendars to attend the 14th Annual UPwithART – a celebration of culture, compassion and community, in support of Unity Project for Relief of Homelessness and Museum London.  London’s best arty-party is not to be missed!

July Shelter UP-date!

We are grateful to report that things have gone relatively smooth over the past two months since our return to our Old East Village site. Since then, we have been operating as an indoor/outdoor program using the Pallet shelter cabins.

Our first House Meeting was a heartwarming and productive session. Nearly all residents actively participated and engaged in lively discussion about policies, procedures, and the community we are building together in this space.

Residents have put a lot of effort into creating an inviting atmosphere with flowers and greenery, although painting the cabins will have to wait.If you are in the neighbourhood, we encourage you to take a moment to appreciate our beautifully restored front garden. Recently, one of our senior residents has lovingly and painstakingly rejuvenated it.

Pallet Shelters at Unity Project's back of house (former parking lot)
Unity Project house front view
Board with notes with the meeting subjects for July 7, 2023

Whole of Community System Response

Over the past few months, Unity Project and numerous community partners have been working diligently to develop a comprehensive strategy and action plan for transforming the way we support the health and well-being of people experiencing homelessness.

This collaborative effort involves several Implementation Tables, including those focusing on Hubs, Workforce Development, Housing, Systems Foundations, Leadership, Strategy and Accountability, and more.

The concept of Hubs is central to this strategy*. Hubs are 24/7 spaces that replace traditional shelters and operate on the principle of “no wrong door” service. They offer access to transitional beds and are designed to provide access to supports tailored to an individual’s needs. Hubs target those with the most complex needs. This is achieved through multi-disciplinary and multi-agency collaboration. A wide range of health and wellness resources will be delivered as we work together to achieve housing outcomes for participants.

The immediate plan is to have 3-5 Hubs operational before winter, along with 100 highly supportive housing units available by end-of-year. There are more developments to come in the future.

Last week, the Encampment Strategy launched four service depots to provide lifesaving supports to those living in some encampments along the Thames River. In addition to providing porta-potties, the roving depots go camp-to-camp providing food, water, harm-reduction supplies, safety information, and they carry out wellness checks.

The service depots are a key component in response to the growing number and desperation of those experiencing homelessness in our community, and the threat to life and limb it represents, especially for those living unsheltered.

We are confident in the importance of this strategy and its potential to greatly impact our local system response. We hope it will be an inspiration to other communities and to encourage serious action from other levels of government in preventing homelessness… Because housing with supports is the solution to homelessness, and income the solution to poverty.  

Our Executive Director, Chuck Lazenby co-chairs the Hubs Implementation Table, along with Co-Chair, Sean Warren, Care Facilitator at London Inter-Community Health Centre.  

*Encampment Strategy is part of the Whole of Community System Response, and the associated Service Depots are separate and distinct from Hubs.