The Guesthouse Shelter Participates in ‘The Great Canadian Giving Challenge’
The Guesthouse Shelter has been providing resources to people experiencing homelessness in North Simcoe for the last 12 years. Since February they have welcomed 50 new “guests”, which is an average of 14 new guests/month; that’s a brand new person coming to use the shelter every 2 days each with their own story.
There are many reasons why people become homeless, from mental health issues and addictions to loss of physical health, loss of job, loss of loved ones and many other reasons that many Canadians are vulnerable to. As many of their guests deal with very complex issues they require much more than a place to stay and a hot meal before they can find a new path in life. Therefore, the Guesthouse also offer their guests support and assists them to access housing, employment and other community services.
The Guesthouse has helped many guests move forward. One of the people helped was a retired nurse whose husband had died leaving her with significant debt. Her daughter and her had been living out of their car bouncing from shelter to shelter for 3 years before they came to stay with the Guesthouse in December, 2015. The Guesthouse staff and volunteers were able to support them to find permanent housing and since April they have been living in their very own apartment.
Another success story was a man in his 70’s who was new to Midland and was not aware that he had to contact Service Canada to get his Old Age Pension and CPP transferred and was left with no income. The Guesthouse helped this man access the funds he had earned and was entitled to. It took about 3 months to get the Old Age Pension and CPP back for him and it took almost 9 months to get the Guaranteed Income which he had never accessed previously. Once again, he has moved on and has the income to support himself.
Beth McCormick, Operations Manager said “For many years now, it has been apparent that our current facility has given all it can. In 2014, we were able to secure the funds to purchase a building at 522 Elizabeth Street, in downtown Midland and in early 2016 renovations began on our brand new shelter on the upper floor of this building.”
When complete, the new shelter will feature a large dining room that can accommodate 40+ for meals, a commercial kitchen, a health clinic, and plenty of space for overnight lodgers. They hope to be able to start receiving guests at the new location in the next few months.
Volunteers, community members and guests have all lent a hand in this project. The construction has been completely funded through donations, community support and fundraising. Recent fundraising events include a Fun-d Raising Friday Dance and Silent Auction and ‘Changing My Mind” an evening with Margaret Trudeau. The $950,00 project still needs $150,000 in monetary/ in-kind donations before it can be completed.
For the entire month of June, The Guesthouse will be participating in ‘The Great Canadian Giving Challenge’. Every dollar that is donated to us through https://www.canadahelps.org/gcgc/104460 qualifies us to win $10,000. The more you give, the more chances for them to win! Even a small amount can make a big difference for individuals in our community who need support.
For more information about The Guesthouse Shelter visit their website: www.theguesthouseshelter.ca their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheGuesthouseShelter/ or contact Laurel McConnell, Volunteer and Communication Coordinator: (705) 528-1096 x 206, [email protected]