Mactaggart Hryn Family Steps Up to Support Home For Good

Pictured L-R: Chris Willard, Guelph Community Foundation; Jason Ashdown, Home for Good Campaign Chair; Will Mactaggart; Leslie Mactaggart; Mike Hryn; Glenna Banda, United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin; Renee Carpino, Wyndham House

Guelph’s very own Mactaggart Hryn Family has stepped up in a big way towards the Home for Good Campaign. Their unwavering dedication to the Guelph community shines through, and their actions speak volumes about their commitment to making a real difference in the lives of those experiencing chronic homelessness in our city. 

Through their own work with the Oak Tree Project, they’ve facilitated important conversations about local housing and homelessness issues with community members. View these videos here. Through these conversations, they’ve come to understand the tough realities and complexities of homelessness and have chosen to actively support the vision of permanent supportive housing in our community with an incredible $50,000 gift to the Home for Good Campaign.  

Their generous gift represents not just a dedication to combating chronic homelessness, but a strong belief in the power of community dialogue and collective solutions. They’ve seen the impact of these elements in creating lasting change and have become champions of this cause themselves. 

“My family lost my father five years ago. He loved this town and was committed to supporting the community. One of the big lessons I learned from him was how to work. When something needed doing, you roll up your sleeves and just get to work, one step at a time. Solving chronic homelessness seems like an overwhelming problem, but you solve it by rolling up your sleeves and helping one individual at a time.”

– Will Mactaggart

With their donation, The Mactaggart Hryn family are investing in our community’s future. At a recent tour of Wyndham House’s Bellevue permanent supportive housing project, the Mactaggart Hryn family heard about the incredible, responsive work that has come as a direct result of the Home for Good Campaign. To date, 15 youth have been housed at Bellevue, offering them support and dignity through their journey with intersecting issues like precarious housing, mental health challenges and family violence.  

The Home for Good Campaign is a bold call to action to solve chronic homelessness in our community. The Guelph & Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination had the vision to bring this campaign to our community. Inspired by their determination, The Guelph Community Foundation and United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin are collectively leading the fundraising for the Home for Good campaign by contributing our fund development and communication experience.  

The initial focus of The Home for Good Campaign was capital investment to build 72 supportive housing units in Guelph in 2023. By the end of 2023, over $2.6M was raised locally and the building costs for 10 Shelldale by Kindle Communities, Grace Gardens by Stepping Stone and Bellevue by Wyndham House have been covered. The Home for Good team is proud to report that thanks to our generous community, 40 individuals are currently housed at Grace Gardens and Bellevue and 32 more will soon call 10 Shelldale home.  

As the Home for Good campaign moves forward with its bold mandate, we celebrate the incredible stories of impact that responsive funding can have on the lives of the most vulnerable in our community.  

Together, we can solve chronic homelessness. 

The Home for Good Campaign

The Home for Good Campaign aims to reduce the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness by 50% and build a fund to continue finding solutions as a community. Read our blog here and learn more at HomeForGoodGW.ca

Tricar Invests in the Future

Every successful business knows that smart investment makes a difference. They understand that investing in the right places encourages long-term thinking and invites pause to reflect on changes needed for a better future. More than just intention, however, investing also requires action and commitment to bring ideas and dreams to life.

Investing in the future is something that the team at The Tricar Group (known to many as simply Tricar) does well. As successful community builders in cities across southern Ontario, they have been investing in Guelph for years through the hundreds of apartment and condominium homes they have built in our community. This tradition of thoughtful investing was recently amplified with their generous leadership gift of $50,000 to the Home for Good Campaign.

Chris Willard (Guelph Community Foundation), Leisha Burley (Kindle Communities), Glenna Banda (United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin), Jen Grozelle (The Tricar Group), Jenna McKenney (The Tricar Group), Daria Allen-Ebron (Kindle Communities)

As a leader in housing, Tricar knows the importance of investing in homes for everyone in a community. This is one of the reasons they develop quality rentals and condominiums, knowing that individuals and families at different life stages need multiple housing options. These housing options include permanent supportive housing that the Home for Good Campaign is helping to bring to life in Guelph and Wellington.

“We were immediately drawn to the Home for Good campaign for a number of reasons,” commented Adam Carapella Vice-President at Tricar. “We were thoroughly impressed by the Home for Good leadership team and their vision around collaboration. We also were inspired by how the campaign wanted to educate and create awareness about the vital role that permanent supportive housing plays in a healthy community. We know that the solution to our current housing pressures is more options focused on specific needs. We are grateful to the Home for Good campaign and their work to create safe, warm and meaningful housing for the Guelph community.”

This gift aligns with Tricar’s holistic and quiet approach to making a difference in the communities they operate in. With a long history of giving back, Tricar’s gift to the Home for Good campaign is a reflection of a corporate value that has driven their success since day one: they are not just building homes. They are investing in communities.

The Home for Good Campaign

The Home for Good Campaign aims to reduce the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness by 50% and build a fund to continue finding solutions as a community. Read our blog here and learn more at HomeForGoodGW.ca

The Right Housing at The Right Time

A collaborative post from the staff team at Grace Gardens

Everyone deserves a place to live. This includes the hundreds of individuals and families in our community that currently do not have a space to call home.

For those of us with a home, it is easy to forget that everyone who is experiencing homelessness has had a unique and difficult journey getting to this point in their life. People who are experiencing homelessness will have lived through a mix of social, emotional and economic factors that brought them to this point in their lives. Thinking about their next step in finding a permanent home demands that we understand their individual needs and hopes.

Since January of this year, our organization has helped nearly 70 Guelph and Wellington citizens living without a permanent home enter the rental market. Each of these rentals was an intentional effort to connect with landlords who had available space. These connections worked because the individuals were physically and emotionally ready to rent a space on their own and just needed an experienced and caring hand to guide them through the process.

Others experiencing homelessness need more than just a place to rent. For those who would benefit from a higher level of support for their wellness and mental health needs, Grace Gardens is going to make a huge impact. Grace Gardens, currently under construction on Woolwich Street in Guelph, is one of the three Permanent Supportive Housing projects being supported by the Home for Good Campaign. In addition to providing a clean, safe and comfortable place to live for 32 residents, Grace Gardens will offer social and emotional support that will make a difference in residents’ day-to-day living.

As front-line staff at Grace Gardens, our job will be to provide or connect our clients with these services. We have the honour of intimately understanding an individual’s specific goals and working with them to make sure they have the wellness, emotional and logistical services they need to live with purpose and hope. We are excited about opening Grace Gardens soon because we know that in addition to bringing stability to our clients, the new facility will create a spirit of community that has been missing from their lives.

The magic of Permanent Supportive Housing happens when people know they belong and have the services and support they need to live as they want. We have seen firsthand the nerves and uncertainty when moving into a new Permanent Supportive Housing unit. We also know that with time, patience and grace, those nerves grow into comfort and a sense of pride. Permanent Supportive Housing works because it provides authentic relationships that embrace all the complex, confusing, and joyful traits that make each of us human.

For anyone who has been living without a home, leaving survival mode and entering a time of thriving is a transformational process. Finding the right space to make a home is critical to the long-term success of helping people move permanently away from homelessness. The more varied housing options we have for people, the stronger and more resilient our community will be to support an individual’s journey back to finding the right home for them.

About This Post

This article is one of a series that explores homelessness in Guelph/Wellington and the solutions that the Home for Good Campaign brings the community. This submission is from the hard-working and caring staff at Grace Gardens, one of the Permanent Supportive Housing projects being funded by the Home For Good Campaign. Learn more at HomeForGoodGW.ca

With Your Help, We Can Solve Homelessness

In February 2019, I spoke these words at the State of the City address to describe homelessness in Guelph:

This is an issue that has to be solved. We cannot be a community if we’re leaving people behind…No longer can I say ‘it’s their problem, it’s the provincial government’s problem or it’s the federal government’s problem’ and a year goes by and another year goes by and another year goes by and the same people aren’t getting help. We must step up.

It is amazing to think about the collective action that has taken place in our community before and since. Thanks to the dedicated work of members of the Mayors Task Force on Homelessness, the Poverty Task Force, and staff at both the City and County of Wellington we have developed a nationally recognized plan to solve homelessness. This plan has inspired the development of three new Permanent Supportive Housing Projects which will create homes for 72 members of our community and reduce the stress on our temporary housing system.

To bring these projects to life we need funding. The United Way of Guelph-Wellington-Dufferin and the Guelph Community Foundation (in partnership with the Poverty Task Force) have joined forces to run the $5 million Home for Good capital campaign that is raising money to build and maintain these new units. This money will be in addition to the $16.8 million already pledged by all three levels of government to support the campaign.

To show our unwavering support for the campaign, the City of Guelph set aside $500,000 from our Affordable Housing Reserve for a matching fund program to encourage everyone in our community to contribute. Simply put, we have been able to double the gifts that have been made to the campaign.

This matching gift directly aligns with our goal to “work with partners to create smart programs and policies that enable more people to obtain housing.” I am excited about the impact we can make through it together.

No gift has been too big or small. Parents have given to the campaign as birthday gifts for their adult children. Faith communities have raised money specifically for Home for Good. Individual donors and philanthropists have made gifts from their family endowments. No matter where these gifts come from they all are making a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable in our community.

Our matching grant is open to corporate gifts as well. Large and small businesses have made contributions to the campaign. Some have even invited their staff and customers to give. Through all your generous donations, the City was able to double the impact. A made-in-Guelph double-double!

Our community has a plan to solve homelessness. Now is the time for each of us to show our support by giving to The Home for Good campaign. Every dollar makes a difference.

About This Post

Cam Guthrie is the mayor of the City of Guelph. In January 2019, Mayor Guthrie convened a task force of community leaders and agencies to take action on the issues of homelessness, addiction, and mental health needs in Guelph. He has been a strong voice in supporting Guelph’s homelessness plan. This article is part of a series of posts exploring homelessness in Guelph/Wellington and the solutions that the Home for Good Campaign brings the community.

Learn more at HomeForGoodGW.ca

Store fundraiser contributes $60,000 to Home for Good Campaign to solve homelessness

City’s pledge to match donations doubles impact of funds raised by Bookshelf and customers

The Bookshelf owners and their customers celebrate their donation to the Home for Good with members of the campaign team, Mayor Cam Guthrie and Counsellor Erin Caton at the construction site of the Kindle Communities supportive housing project on Shelldale Crescent in Guelph.

For immediate release – March 1, 2023 – A holiday season fundraiser continues to collect donations to help fund permanent supportive housing in Guelph and Wellington County. The Bookshelf announced it has raised $30,000 to date, combining donations from the store, its owners, and dozens of its customers.

To celebrate 50 years in business, in December the beloved local bookstore quietly announced a $20,000 gift on its social media channels and encouraged customers to also support the Home for Good project, a $5 million capital campaign to help build three Permanent Supportive Housing projects in Guelph that will reduce homelessness by about half when completed.

“We’ve been fortunate through the pandemic thanks to our loyal and generous customers. We know this isn’t the case for everyone. In our downtown location we also see first-hand the effects of poverty and homelessness. Housing is a basic right, and the Home for Good campaign is doing great work to solve homelessness in our community,” said Ben Minett, co-owner of The Bookshelf.

“To see our amazing customers come together around this issue and raise another $10,000 so far has been inspiring, and it speaks to the urgency of the issue. When it comes to providing mental health supports, housing, and poverty alleviation, we have never seen it as bad as it has been the past couple of years,” he continued.

Due to a commitment from the City of Guelph to match donations up to $500,000, the total raised by The Bookshelf and its community jumps to $60,000 and counting.

“This is an incredible example of the impact that individuals in our community can have. Small donations and large donations all matter. Before you know it, with the City’s pledge, a group can raise $60,000 towards this urgent issue,” said Mayor Cam Guthrie, who joined Bookshelf customers and campaign organizers to celebrate the donation.

“It’s worth noting that it’s a very cold day today. We’re standing outside for a few minutes for a photo shoot. There are people in our community who struggle to get out of this cold because they don’t have a permanent place to call home,” said Guthrie, adding: “This is a crisis.”

Chris Willard, executive director at The Guelph Community Foundation, which is co-leading the campaign with United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin, says the example is encouraging for other community groups.

“I love that other groups in our community, whether they are a business and its customers or a group of co-workers, classmates, clubs, teams, or just a group of friends can see themselves in this great example of fundraising. With the City matching donations, it reminds us that when we come together, great things can happen!”

The Home for Good Campaign continues through 2023. For more information, visit HomeforGoodGW.ca.

For more information please contact:

Glenna Banda, executive director, United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin

c 519.546.4990 | glenna@unitedwayguelph.com

Learn more about the campaign and its collaborative efforts to solve homelessness in Guelph Wellington at HomeForGoodGW.ca

Jason Ashdown To Lead Campaign Cabinet

R. Jason Ashdown, Co-founder and Chief Sustainability Officer at Skyline Group

Business owner and housing advocate volunteering time to lead $5M Home for Good campaign

Guelph | February 21, 2023 | For Immediate Release – The Home for Good Campaign is excited and honoured to announce that R. Jason Ashdown, Co-founder and Chief Sustainability Officer at Skyline Group of Companies, will volunteer as the Campaign Chair and help meet its $5 million fundraising target.

“We are energized to see a long-time Guelph leader and a national housing advocate step into this vital campaign role,” commented Chris Willard, executive director for the Guelph Community Foundation (GCF). The GCF is co-leading the campaign with United Way of Guelph Wellington Dufferin.

“Jason and Skyline have already contributed so much to this campaign’s success. His passion, vision and work ethic are going to be a major boost to our efforts to raise money for these important projects,” Willard added.

The Home for Good Campaign will raise the capital required to complete three underway projects that will create 72 permanent supportive housing units in Guelph over the next year. Each project will provide people experiencing chronic homelessness with a place to call home and consistent social and emotional support.

In May 2022, Skyline Group of Companies announced a land donation valued at $1.7 million for the development of Kindle Communities Apartments, one of three permanent supportive housing projects currently underway in Guelph.

“Skyline is proud to have deep roots in Guelph and we recognize our responsibility as a business, rental provider, and employer to effect positive change in the city,” commented Ashdown. “We can turn opportunity into reality through a collaborative and creative approach. The Kindle Project is an excellent example of leveraging strategy and the combined resources of business, community, and government to deliver meaningful and long-term results around homelessness. I am excited to take on this role to harness the influence of our business community to help the most vulnerable. I look forward to connecting with individuals, businesses and organizations to rally support for this important campaign.”

Ashdown’s commitment to community and the issue of housing is well known. As a founding partner of one of Canada’s major rental housing providers, Jason has seen first-hand how families and individuals have struggled to make ends meet. In more than two decades of working with tenants and community organizations, Jason and the Skyline team understand the importance of secure housing to a person’s well-being.

Ashdown leads Skyline’s Sustainability team and steers the business’ corporate social responsibility efforts to promote housing security, provision of basic needs, and good mental health. He ensures that Skyline leverages its experience, influence and people to make meaningful change happen.

Click here to read an opinion piece from Jason exploring the role that businesses play in helping solve homelessness.

For more information please contact:

Glenna Banda

Executive Director, United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin

c 519.546.4990 | glenna@unitedwayguelph.com

Learn more about the campaign and its collaborative efforts to solve homelessness in Guelph Wellington at HomeForGoodGW.ca

Corporate Canada Can Help Solve Homelessness

By R. Jason Ashdown

Housing is an essential need and is one of the most significant factors that impacts a person’s health and well-being. For an individual without a home, the rest of life’s problems can seem insurmountable. Unfortunately, Canada is experiencing a housing supply shortage, which drives up pricing and creates an affordability issue. As a result, homelessness is on the rise.

Homelessness is not a problem that can be solved by one person or company alone. Government, communities, service providers, and businesses must work together to find a solution to this crisis. Private businesses especially can (and should) play a key role in helping to find solutions. I have seen firsthand the real impact that businesses can have in supporting projects and programs for eliminating homelessness.

Skyline Group of Companies operates in communities from coast to coast. We have a responsibility to support and invest in the cities and towns in which we do business and help find solutions to problems like homelessness. Financial contributions to initiatives like the Home for Good campaign are a first step. There is a myriad of other ways, too, that businesses like Skyline can help solve problems simply by leveraging the resources they have access to including people, in-house services, and expertise. Businesses also have influence as a resource, and can exercise that influence through staff, customers, suppliers, investors, and all of their audiences. Influence can be used as a tool to reach a wide audience and garner buy-in and support for an idea or cause.

Earlier this fall, a 32-unit Permanent Supportive Housing development broke ground at 10 Shelldale Crescent in Guelph. This project is the result of what happens when government, business, and community partners come together. 10 Shelldale Crescent will provide permanent housing and support for people experiencing chronic homelessness in our community. This project was made possible thanks to a unique idea that grew into a partnership between Kindle Communities, Skyline Group of Companies and the Guelph Community Health Centre. All parties made a tangible commitment to the project. The result is a viable solution that is taking direct aim at a problem and delivering resources to support permanent homelessness solutions in Guelph.

Crisis is a time for action and business has a responsibility to get involved. We know that homelessness is not just detrimental to the people who are experiencing it. The issue has a profound effect on the health of a community, and without a strong community, our businesses would simply not exist. Doing good is good for business on many levels: a resilient community contributes to prosperity, healthy workforce, a stronger economy, and reduces social service demands.

By working together, we can have a greater impact and be a part of the solution. Imagining a world without homelessness should not be a dream. It should be a very achievable goal for every community. We just need to work together to achieve it.

About This Post

R. Jason Ashdown is Co-Founder & Chief Sustainability Officer at Skyline Group of Companies. Jason believes that a business is only as strong as the communities in which it thrives and is a former board member of Shelldale Family Gateway. This is the third of five articles exploring homelessness in Guelph/Wellington and the solutions that the Home for Good Campaign is bringing to the community. Learn more at HomeForGoodGW.ca.

The Right Solution

Homelessness is personal and no two people experience it the same. Significant life changes, a health crisis or loss of income could put any of us in a place where suddenly we don’t have a place to call home. Just as those circumstances are unique, so are the temporary and permanent solutions to help individuals get back on their feet.

We may think of shelters as the response to homelessness. Temporary shelters are often needed in a time of family crisis or major transition such as being released from a hospital. While emergency shelters are important, they are not solutions. They are short-term band-aids designed to get individuals or families into a safe space. Once safe and secure in a temporary location, emergency shelters work with people to help them plan next steps to finding a permanent home.

This is why Permanent Supportive Housing (which is the focus of the Home for Good Campaign) is so important. Unlike shelters which provide beds, Permanent Supportive Housing gives people a home. While emergency shelters are designed to help people transition onto other housing options, people living in Permanent Supportive Housing have a space to call their own. People living in Permanent Supportive Housing pay rent, come and go as they please, and have all the rights and responsibilities that come from being a tenant in Ontario.

In addition to providing a safe and private home (often in the form of a self-contained studio with a kitchenette), Permanent Supportive Housing also provides flexible and voluntary supports. These evidence-based services are often onsite, are flexible and affordable, and are designed to support the physical and emotional goals of people living with complex needs. A social service professional is on-site 24/7 and programming is delivered through intentional integration of the physical space and community in the building. These supports (which can include counselling, life skill development and medical care) allow residents to lead their lives as they choose, knowing that if they would like judgement-free help, it is close by.

Permanent Supportive Housing is community building at its best. It gives individuals who have struggled with finding a home a safe and welcoming place. With those basic human needs met, it allows residents the time, space and professional support they need to focus on their physical and mental health to be active and contributing members of our society.

For a limited time, the City of Guelph is matching community donations dollar for dollar. If you can, please consider making a financial contribution — there couldn’t be a better time to give!

About This Post

Diane Ballantyne is a Wellington County Councillor and a board member at United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin. She has long advocated for a community that is grounded in inclusivity and equity. This is the second in a series of posts exploring homelessness in Guelph/Wellington and the solutions that the Home for Good Campaign brings the community. Our thanks to the housing team at the County of Wellington for their insights.

Moving Past NIMBY

Housing is one of the biggest factors that impact individual health and well being. When we don’t have it, everything can fall apart. Having a safe place to call home that is affordable, accessible, and appropriate is something everyone deserves.

Bed with End Table and Lamp Sketch

When people have the housing they need, our whole community benefits. Housing has a positive impact on health outcomes, social inclusion, and participation in education and employment. In fact, investing in appropriate housing saves public dollars associated with health care, emergency service, and shelter costs.

In recent years, tremendous progress has been made in Guelph and Wellington to reduce housing pressures for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness. These efforts include creating new Permanent Supportive Housing that provides a safe and comfortable place to live and day-to-day medical and social service support.

Permanent Supportive Housing creates an opportunity for members of our community who face incredible pressures to access lifesaving housing. And yet, it often faces strong opposition when first introduced. What often underpins this concern are the stereotypes about the people who will live there. We often hear misconceptions that this type of housing will decrease property values, make a community less safe and not fit with the neighbourhood. While research confirms this isn’t true, these perceptions create stigma for future supportive housing neighbours, who like each of us want and deserve to live in a safe and welcoming community.

The Poverty Task Force believes that permanent supportive housing, including the three projects being funded through the Home for Good Campaign, are key to ending homelessness in Guelph-Wellington. We know the 72 new units the campaign is supporting will make a positive impact on our community and the individuals who will call them home.

The Ontario Human Rights Code supports that everyone has the right to be free from discrimination in housing and can live in a neighbourhood of their choice. As a champion for Yes, In my Backyard (YIMBY), the Poverty Task Force believes we have a collective responsibility to make our community welcoming to everyone. We can help make this a reality by publicly supporting housing projects that will meet community needs in my neighbourhood and yours. Together we can support a caring community where everyone has the housing they need.

About This Post

Dominica McPherson is a long-time housing advocate and Director of the Guelph & Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination. This is the first in a series of posts exploring homelessness in Guelph/Wellington and the solutions that the Home for Good Campaign is bringing to the community.

St. Andrew’s Guelph Growing Its Legacy of Community Support

A $600,000 cash donation starts a major gift push for The Home for Good Campaign

Glenna Banda, United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin and Chris Willard, The Guelph Community Foundation, receive a cheque for $600,000 from Mary Visser Kerr and Nicki Groenewegen of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

Guelph ON – The congregation from St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Guelph is showing their commitment to being in service to others by making a $600,000 leadership gift to the recently launched Home For Good Campaign.

“As individuals and as a congregation, St. Andrew’s has a mandate to support others in the community,” said Mary Visser Kerr, a member of the leadership team that helped guide the giving process. “This desire to help is a driving factor for all our activities. We are always challenging ourselves to find ways we can get involved and are so thrilled about the impact this money is going to have.”

“The St. Andrew’s gift is the largest cash contribution the campaign has received to date and has already been leveraged to encourage additional government grants,” says campaign co-lead Glenna Banda, executive director of United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin. The formal cheque presentation was made earlier this month at the church. The gift was received by Banda and campaign co-lead Chris Willard, executive director of the Guelph Community Foundation. 

“This gift is a great fit for our past and future,” commented Nicki Groenewegen, another gift organizer from the church. “These funds came from the proceeds of the sale of the Westminster-St Paul’s Presbyterian Church that closed in in October 2021.  For many years, St. Andrew’s has been looking at needs in our community, learning about the importance of affordable housing and the powerful role that permanent supportive housing plays in reducing homelessness. When we heard about The Home for Good Campaign it seemed like a perfect fit for our funds and energy. We hope that supporting the campaign with a large gift will draw attention in the community to this critical need.”

“We are so grateful to St Andrew’s for their leadership and commitment to this campaign,” reflected Willard. “We have been speaking with their staff and congregational teams for a while about this campaign and have seen their passion and interest in permanent supportive housing grow. To receive this gift so soon after our public launch is a sign that the community sees the benefits these housing solutions will provide Guelph and Wellington. “

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The Home for Good Campaign will raise $5 million to invest in permanent supportive housing projects to help people experiencing homelessness in Guelph and Wellington. This capital investment will help support the building of 72 supportive housing units in Guelph over the next year. To date, commitments from all levels of government and other community agencies have generated nearly 80% of the funds needed.

Read the Donor’s Story here.