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

Click here to read more about the Emergency Community Support Fund.

Click here to view the beneficiaries of Round 2.