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