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Navigating Financial Waters: A Closer Look at Home Suite Hope’s Finances



This is the final in a four-part series,

Empowering Change: Exploring Sustainability and Social Impact at Home Suite Hope


by HSH Executive Director Sara Cumming, PhD



Welcome to our final blog post in our four-part series brought to you by Executive Director, Dr. Sara Cumming.  As our organization navigates through the ever-evolving challenges of funding, Dr. Cumming aims to address the queries surrounding our surplus and fundraising endeavors. Join us as we delve into the intricacies of Home Suite Hope's financial position, exploring the factors influencing our grant applications and donation drives amidst increasing reserves. Through this series, we endeavor to uphold transparency and offer insights into the financial dynamics shaping our mission.


In the first Blog, Surplus for Sustainability: The Profit Paradox in Non-profits, our ED discussed the importance of long-term planning with our finances to ensure we can provide our participants their full wrap-around supports throughout the four years of their programming. In the second blog, Breaking the Cycle: The Long-term Cost Savings of Supporting Single Parent Families, we discussed the full costs and supports of Homeward Bound Halton and our other program supports. In the third blog, Navigating the Complexities of Not-for-Profit Salaries and Mission Fulfillment, Sara dispelled the misconception that our staff costs our outgrowing our programming costs and discussed the costs of running our programming with an emphasis on the long-term savings to the community and government. In this final blog of this series, Navigating Financial Waters: A Closer Look at Home Suite Hope’s Finances, we provide complete transparency about Home Suite Hope’s assets.


Dr. Sara Cumming, Executive Director, Home Suite Hope

In the realm of non-profit organizations, financial transparency is paramount. Every grant application, whether from government agencies, foundations, corporations, or service clubs, necessitates a prevue into the audited statements of the organization. These statements serve as a testament to fiscal responsibility and financial health. However, beyond the surface-level numbers lie intricate stories of strategic investments and prudent decision-making.


Home Suite Hope's audited statements not only showcase its fiscal soundness but also reveal the diverse array of assets, including physical property, cash, and investments. One notable addition to our physical assets beyond our IT is a 2023 Ford Maverick, acquired through a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to enhance service delivery.


As of April 2024, Home Suite Hope boasts approximately $1,036,000 in liquid assets, with an anticipated budget close to $1,000,000 for the year. While a significant portion of the budget is secured through external agencies and reserves, a deficit of $515,000 necessitates fundraising efforts to bridge the gap. Despite the apparent surplus in liquid assets, prudent financial planning dictates maintaining a three-month cash reserve, amounting to approximately $200,000.


Home Suite Hope's commitment to expanding its services, such as supporting young single mothers and providing trade education programs, has attracted targeted donations. The organization has judiciously invested these funds, primarily in Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), to ensure sustained support for its initiatives. Notably, a portion of these investments will be reallocated to supplement the budget for the current fiscal year, emphasizing strategic resource management. In addition, last year we spent the entire year focused on increasing our capacity to offer affordable housing.  The money we have accumulated from these efforts has also been invested into GICs.


A core tenet of Home Suite Hope's operations is its policy of providing direct assistance to participants rather than cash handouts. The organization pays landlords directly and has an account at Sheridan College for all of the participants’ parking and books. Extra supports are given in the form of grocery, transportation and clothing gift cards.  We have found over the last 3 years that we need a minimum of $10,000 of these supports annually and at times (during the pandemic and inflation crisis) we have hit closer to $20,000. These gift cards show up on our statements as cash.


One of the most significant investments in Home Suite Hope's portfolio is the Pooled Fund Investments at the Oakville Community Foundation ($416,000) stemming from proceeds generated by selling an old property. While initially earmarked for housing initiatives, these investments now serve as a crucial resource amidst a worsening housing crisis. With government funding cuts looming and housing costs skyrocketing, the organization recognizes the imperative of bolstering its reserves to sustain its mission.

To sum this up, we currently have approximately $200,000 for our three month cash-reserve, $20,000 in participant supports through gift cards, $136,000 in deferred revenue, and $680,000 for housing supports in our reserves. In the face of a national housing crisis, these funds will be critical in supporting the long term housing stability of our participants. The core tenant of Homeward Bound Halton is housing first—our participants must have access to safe, affordable and stable housing for them to do the hard work in all of the other areas of their lives.  Without access to housing the entire program in jeopardy.


Our financial strategy exemplifies a delicate balance between fiscal responsibility and social impact. By meticulously managing assets, investing strategically, and prioritizing the needs of our participants, the organization has navigated challenges with resilience and foresight. As we confront the evolving landscape of social services cuts at a time of high levels of unaffordability, we urge funders to recognize the need for surplus for long-term sustainability.


To contact Sara, email SaraC@homesuitehope.org


To donate via CanadaHelps, click CanadaHelps


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