St. Andrew’s $600,000 leadership gift reflects commitment to service, and tackling homelessness in Guelph-Wellington

Guelph Community Foundation, United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin receive $600,000 cheque from St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church Guelph.
Chris Willard, Guelph Community Foundation (left) and Glenna Banda, United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin (far right) receive a cheque from representatives of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church – Cindy Bray, Rick McRonald, Nicki Growenegan, Mary Visser Kerr, and Carol Ann Johnstone.

As the saying goes, when one door closes, another opens. This is how many of the parishioners at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Guelph talk about their recent leadership gift to the Home for Good campaign. 

The $600,000 gift was made possible not just from the generosity of the St Andrew’s congregation. These funds came from the proceeds of the sale of the Westminster-St Paul’s Presbyterian Church that closed in in October 2021.

As individuals and as a congregation St Andrew’s has a mandate to serve others in the community. As a faith community, they are continuously challenging themselves to get involved in their local neighbourhood. Looking for the best place to share the resources from both congregations was a responsibility they took seriously. For many years, St. Andrew’s had been looking at needs in the community, learning about the importance of affordable housing and the powerful role that permanent supportive housing plays in reducing homelessness.

After extensive research, internal discussion and interviews with campaign organizers, it was clear that the Home for Good campaign was a perfect fit for St. Andrew’s resources and energy. In fact, when the opportunity arose for the church to be recognized as a lead gift to the campaign, their team sprung into action to make sure that the logistics for the cash gift were in place. It is hoped that the church’s support of the campaign with a large gift will draw attention in the community to this critical need.

The $600,000 gift is the largest cash contribution the Home for Good campaign has received to date. This donation is a huge boost to the campaign and has already been leveraged with government donors to open up other sources of funding.

Permanent Supportive Housing is a Proven Solution

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) is an evidenced-based and cost-effective solution for people who are chronically homeless and/or highly vulnerable because of long-term disabilities such as mental illnesses, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, substance use disorders, and chronic health conditions.

PSH can be further understood by considering each component:

Permanent – Leases are held by tenants without limits on length of stay (PSH is not intended to be transitional or temporary).

Supportive – PSH links rental financial assistance with access to individualized, flexible and voluntary supports to address needs and maintain housing stability. Supports are typically provided by on-site staff and can be accessed 24 hours / 7 days a week.

Housing – PSH usually includes independent units, so people have their own private space, with common spaces that are in one home or building, or in a scattered-site arrangement in which tenants who receive support services live through out the community in housing that can be agency-owned or privately owned.