Categories
Uncategorized

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
 

 
Current

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

Read More
City of London skyline, photo credit itskdoubt
Uncategorized

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.

Read More

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

Categories
Current

Help us reach our goal to fill 100 Santa Sacks for Unity Project Participants!

Help us reach our goal to fill 100 Santa Sacks for Unity Project Participants!

 

Here is a safe, fun and virtual way for you to bring real comfort and joy to individuals who are experiencing homelessness and staying at Unity Project this holiday season.

This year is a little different … a lot different! Unity Project is unable to accept in-kind donations, so we are are offering something new to fill the gap and replace the joy our donors get from gathering, giving and delivering all the Santa Sack goodies.

How do I help Unity Project fill 100 Santa Sacks? 
You can purchase individual items to stuff a single Santa Sack or purchase 1, 2, or even 10 complete Santa Sacks!

How will my donation be used?   
Your donation will be used to purchase all the items needed for the Santa Sacks. We will shop at and support local businesses wherever possible, just as you would if you were shopping for us.

100 beautiful knapsacks to fill … Click the button below, and let’s reach this goal together!

Want to donate by cheque?
Please include “Santa Sacks” on the memo line, make the cheque payable to Unity Project, and mail to: Unity Project, Attn: Silvia Langer, 717 Dundas Street, London ON N5W 2Z5.
 
Want to host a fundraiser among friends, family, workplace or congregation?
Facebook and PayPal Giving Fund Canada have partnered to make it easy for you to give financially, and accountably with donations going directly to Unity Project’s account. And, your group’s donors receive a charitable tax receipt! Click this link to learn more!

Current

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

Read More
City of London skyline, photo credit itskdoubt
Uncategorized

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.

Read More

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

Categories
Current

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 world to bring about real change in their communities. London, your eagerness to help UP warms our hearts, and we will continue to honour your support by doing our best to meet our participants’ needs and address London’s housing crisis.

In truth, we send you this message to not only celebrate a single day, but to express our gratitude for all of the support you have given us during the past two weeks. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed system gaps that must be filled, and we rely on our supporters to help us advocate for, usher in and put into practice the change we need to address homelessness in London.

There is still time to donate:
Today is your last day to donate to our Giving Tuesday campaign. Your gift will receive extra clout thanks to a generous matching pledge from Chris and Lina Bowden (up to $5,000), but only until the end of today! If you were looking to donate, now is the time to do it!

Current

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

Read More
City of London skyline, photo credit itskdoubt
Uncategorized

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.

Read More

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

Categories
Uncategorized

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

Current

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

Read More
City of London skyline, photo credit itskdoubt
Uncategorized

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.

Read More

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

Categories
News

Cohen Highley LLP Presents Afterlife Crisis

Cohen Highley LLP invites you to enjoy a seriously fun evening with
Author Randal Graham, Actor Raoul Bhaneja and the Honourable Bob Rae.
Participants get a signed copy of the novel and a bottle of Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio or McMannis Cabernet wine (or a $20 LCBO gift card if you live outside of London).
 
The evening includes:
  • A reading by Raoul Bhaneja from Randal Graham’s new novel, Afterlife Crisis;
  • A toast and introduction by the Honourable Bob Rae, and;
  • After… a question, answer, conversation about … Life and Crisis!

Note: Registration has closed.

Download Zoom here.

Current

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

Read More
City of London skyline, photo credit itskdoubt
Uncategorized

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.

Read More

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

Categories
News

Finch Auto Group – Match My Donation

Finch Auto Group – Match My Donation

Each month from now until the end of the year, Finch Auto Group will donate $50,000 to local causes… that you donate to first!

How does it work? Just visit www.finchmatchmydonation.com and fill out a simple form including proof of donation and THEY WILL DOUBLE IT up to a maximum of $1,000/personal donation, upon drawing your donation from among the submitted “ballots” — up to $50,000 per month (September 1 – December 31, 2020).

Eligible donations include those made since September 1, 2020 … so make a donation today and dig up those receipts to stuff the ballot box! As long as your donation was made on or after September 1, you can submit a ballot!

Together, and with this kind campaign, we can make a huge difference in our community.

Current

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

Read More
City of London skyline, photo credit itskdoubt
Uncategorized

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.

Read More

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

Categories
Current News

What is the solution to homelessness and poverty?

What is the solution to homelessness and poverty?

Written by Chuck Lazenby, our Executive Director

What is the solution to homelessness and poverty? I have been asked this question countless times since the origins of Unity Project as a tent city protest in 2001. My answer has not changed in two decades: Housing is the solution to homelessness. Income is the solution to poverty.

Collectively, we have known the solution for years:

  1. Increase minimum wage and social assistance rates and ultimately we need a basic/minimum income (by the way, we could and should do that tomorrow, easy!), and;

  2. Create truly affordable, quality housing whether through de-commodification of housing, rent controls, refurb/retrofit/maintenance, or new public housing builds (by the way, creating jobs in the process).

Income and housing are the foundation from which we begin to support individuals as part of the community. People must be supported in their physical, mental and social well-being to maintain stability and achieve belonging, both as recovery from the trauma of homelessness and prevention against a constant cycle of new people.

It is not complicated. It serves the collective good. Yup, we are all in this together. Yet, collectively, we cannot coalesce around sound, actionable public policy. We tear our hair out coming up with new charity programming, but skirt around the real and obvious solutions. Why? Because collectively, we cannot shake ourselves free of the myth of our economic system; that homelessness and poverty is a personal crisis which belongs to the individual. This is a stigma. It is a falsehood. It blinds us to the systemic issue and results in our collective acceptance (and yes, the benefits to some) of inhumane public policy.

This is not a failure of government. The system is not broken. The system is working exactly as it geared and tooled to work. High unemployment keeps wages low. Miserable poverty and homelessness keeps low-wage workers saying “Yes, boss”. Thus, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Homelessness is increasing because poverty, like wealth, is an inheritance.

That means that more and more of us are climbing into that poverty boat or it is inching toward us, and our children and grandchildren, as the cost of living increases and our incomes remain relatively static or disappear.

The fact that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) base level income for people struggling during the pandemic is more than double the social assistance rates for people struggling before the pandemic, really demonstrates that we punish people for being poor. Our public policy reflects our belief that poverty is a personal failure. We have labelled homelessness as defining the person (as undeserving) rather than a socio-economic and public health crisis that they experience (like a pandemic).

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed system gaps and failures. It also mobilized a system response.

Let us take this rare window of opportunity to challenge our own thinking and drive a social culture that demands a shift to foundational supports that are, now quite obviously, within our collective capacity and reach.

We need to shift from pity to compassion. We must shift from answering questions to questioning ourselves. We must shift from throwing up our hands to making demands of all of our elected officials. Because it’s clear we know what to do. It’s time to do it.


This article was written for London’s Vital Signs. The article can be found here.

Current

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

Read More
City of London skyline, photo credit itskdoubt
Uncategorized

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.

Read More

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

Categories
News

Showdown in the Downtown goes virtual!

Showdown in the Downtown pivots to virtual!

This is official wording from Showdown’s event page on Facebook.

The 12th Annual ‘Showdown In The Downtown’ is going virtual so we can continue to fight kidney disease and improve patient outcomes after solid organ transplantation.
 
Join us for a FREE acoustic concert on September 26, 2020 at 6:00 p.m at www.lhsf.ca/showdown.
 
The money raised will support:
 
The Lilibeth Caberto Kidney Clinical Research Unit
 
The Matthew Mailing Centre for
Transitional Transplant Studies

The London Health Sciences Centre Surgical Epilepsy Program

The Mary J. Wright Research and Education Centre at Merrymount
Renal Patient Assistance Fund

Unity Project

Fierce N Fit Special Needs Boxing Incorporated

London Health Sciences Foundation
Current

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

Read More
City of London skyline, photo credit itskdoubt
Uncategorized

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.

Read More

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

Categories
News

UP Golf Classic – Still time to sign up or donate!

UP Golf Classic: Still time to donate or register!

Though we cannot do a congregated tourney event, we can still muster the spirit of the game in support of Unity Project for Relief of Homelessness and our Housing First programming. The Oaks welcomes Unity Project twosomes and foursomes to play a round with cart(s) at their exclusive, private course.

The first 60 golfers to register receive a sleeve of Unity Project logo golf balls to help with your game! Sign up today!

Please read the instructions below in full before registering online here:

1) Register & Pay Unity Project online – best if Team Captain completes initial registration for all players, with the option to pay (online or by cheque) for self, two, three or all players. Also available is the option for teammates to pay individually if they wish.

2) Book your own tee time at 2 weeks in advance of your selected date to guarantee your spot. Contact The Oaks Pro Shop (519-652-1762) to book for September 16, 23, or 30 (only).

3) Play! & Let us know how it went! – We’re not keeping score, but would be nice to hear from you so we can share the excitement on the website and our social media.

* For more info or if you would prefer to register/donate offline contact Manny Liebau – mliebau@unityproject.ca or 519-433-8700 ext. 205. Please observe all COVID conduct protocols in place at The Oaks and prepare for your game accordingly. The Oaks will honour a rain check if weather doesn’t permit play.

Note: Unity Project will issue a charitable donation tax receipt of $40 per registered golfer plus the value of any donation at the culmination of the 2020 UP Golf Classic.

Register here: www.upgolfclassic.ca

Current

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

Read More
City of London skyline, photo credit itskdoubt
Uncategorized

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.

Read More

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

Categories
News

Hockey Helps the Homeless key update

Hockey Helps the Homeless – Key Update

Please give in support of the the Hockey Helps the Homeless Canada Life Cup. 

Until September 30, you can donate through the Unity Project Frontline Team to support three local homeless support agencies in London: Merrymount, Mission Services, and Unity Project. 

Hockey tournament or not, it’s bigger than the game and we can all be part of the solution. 

Please help our team by clicking here and donating to one of our team members! 

The Unity Project Frontline Team has pledged to raise $5,000 of London’s $100,000 total goal. You can help us get there. Want to join our team and help raise funds? Contact Silvia Langer at slanger@unityproject.ca, 

Donating via cheque? 

Cheques should be made payable to Hockey Helps the Homeless and mailed to Head Office at 44 East Beaver Creek, Unit #4, Richmond Hill, Ontario, L4B 1G8. Please specify player name in the memo line. Tax receipts will be issued upon the receipt of the donation for all gifts $25 and above. 

Current

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

Read More
City of London skyline, photo credit itskdoubt
Uncategorized

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.

Read More

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