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