Creating affordable housing – that’s what the November 10 inaugural Home for Good gala was all about.
Single parents move from poverty and facing homelessness to stabilization, obtaining a post-secondary diploma and securing employment over the four years they are in Home Suite Hope’s Homeward Bound Halton program. Due to the rising cost of living, inflation and exorbitant hike in rent, even after achieving these life-changing milestones they are still staring down poverty.
HSH has been watching this happen – single parents with employable skills and solid incomes are facing $2000 to $3000 in monthly rental costs.
It’s untenable and HSH has been quick to kick into action. It teamed up with Oakville pilot Callum Wallace as he not only made an historic journey around the world in a single-engine plane, but drew attention and funds to the need for affordable housing.
At the recent gala, not only did HSH welcome home Callum, but also launched its Affordable Housing Campaign: Partners in Change for Housing.
It offers community members the opportunity to provide sponsorship of the $14,400 gap that currently exists in rental costs for an HSH family in a year.
The Partners in Change for Housing plan to create more affordable housing here at home in Halton, has short, medium and long-term goals.
Home Suite Hope has a three-pillar approach to address housing needs for our program participants: renter, partner, and owner, according to HSH Executive Director Sara Cumming. This is a vision that starts with addressing the immediate needs with up-front rental investment, then collaborating with partners for progressive options, and eventually moving towards self-sufficiency through independent ownership. Here is how Sara describes that three-pillar approach.
First Pillar: Front-Loaded Rental
This first pillar is a solution that meets HSH’s short-term needs and provides stable, affordable housing for program participants while we pursue options to help address longer-term self-sufficiency. In the front-loaded model, HSH would pre-pay rent in existing buildings to ensure participants are housed today. While this option requires a substantial up-front investment, it essentially buys affordability in today’s challenging housing marketplace. With our participants’ housing secured, this option offers us greater flexibility to work on longer-term housing initiatives to respond to an ever-volatile affordable housing market. AND, it prevents Halton’s invisible homeless from suddenly becoming very visible.
Second Pillar: Collaborative Partner Model
There are a number of builders and other organizations that are willing and interested in partnering with HSH to secure blocks of housing units in new builds. This medium-term initiative is ideal for HSH programming as it helps ensure a supply of units for program participants, with the added benefit of co-locating them in a central location to create a sense of community for our participants. The delivery of services and sharing of resources is more efficient in this housing option, with those efficiencies directly benefitting existing and future participant. While the collaborative partner model is ideal, it is dependent on the timeline of new construction starts. HSH is already collaborating with partners on a project in Georgetown and we look forward to moving our participants into the new building in the very near future.
Third Pillar: Self-Sufficiency
Home ownership is one of the best ways to address lack of available and affordable housing. HSH’s longer-term goal is to own properties or a complex that offers participant families safe, clean and secure housing.
As with the collaborative partner model, there are countless benefits to centralized housing for our families, ranging from the efficient delivery of services to creating community among our families to cost efficiencies that make best use of program funding and are reinvested in our families. The self-sufficiency model is a financially prudent option over the longer term and it is a smart and effective way to build resiliency into HSH’s housing program. This model will be the most challenging option: it requires working with existing partners and identifying new ones; it requires a committed fundraising campaign; and it requires support from our community.
“We’re up for that challenge,” said Sara.
For information or to donate, please reach out to HSH Executive Director Sara Cumming at firstname.lastname@example.org or on her direct line at 289-213-5787.