|Project Title:||Affordable Housing Expansion Project (London, Ontario)|
|Purpose of Investment:||To expand affordable housing to London, Ontario and bring dignity to those struggling with homelessness and/or mental instability.|
Lack of sufficient permanent, supportive and affordable housing is creating harmful cycles of hospitalization and unnecessary institutional stays for people who have low fixed incomes and live with a mental health disability in the City of London. Affordable housing is a crisis (London Free Press – August 14, 2017):
- One of every ten people in London admitted to hospital for a mental health issue is back in hospital within 30 days of discharge. The cited reason is lack of adequate housing and supports to sustain living in the community (London Vital Signs, 2017).
- Nine of ten women seeking shelter in London have a mental illness with almost half experiencing a concurrent addiction (A Place to Call Home: Ministry of Municipal Affairs, 2017).
The lack of appropriate, affordable and well-supported housing drives up the cost of mental health care and addiction treatment – without a corresponding increase in mental wellness.
London mental health system leaders and London area churches have been calling on Indwell to intervene and create a permanent solution through our affordable housing and support services. In discussions with hospitals and health planners, we learned that 150 units of housing with supports would produce a substantial impact in resolving this mental health housing crisis. A number of London area churches, including Talbot St. CRC, Good News CRC, and Sanctuary have approached Indwell to address the affordable housing crisis. However, each church has plans for their own individual project. From very initial conversations with other church leaders, we know more churches have an interest in creating solutions to the meet the supported housing needs in London. We believe that bringing at least 14 churches together to work in partnership on a single strategic vision is the way forward.
Indwell is responding to the call. However, we recognize this is stretching us in significant ways:
- Indwell has successfully scaled up its operations. But London requires that we replicate not only buildings and services but also an entire supporting structure in a more distant city.
- Several churches have asked us to partner on individual projects. However, to be successful, all interested churches, pooling their assets, can create a permanent solution to the crisis.
- We don’t know London. To achieve the timeline, we need local partners who share our values and can use their influence to raise financial capital and to smooth our path to success.
A Stronger Together grant of $150,000 will provide Indwell with resources and staffing that will:
- Create a coalition of churches working together to achieve a strategic goal of 150 units of supportive affordable housing.
- Initiate and sustain a localized working group with a goal of raising $12 million by 2021.
- Build strong local relationships with churches, donors, and other levels of government that translate into long term, sustainable support.
- Indwell will form a two-year working group of 5-7 members from London area in early 2019 to champion the development of an Indwell housing program.
- Fourteen London area churches will gather around Indwell and raise $12 million in donations and pledges by the end of 2021.
- Indwell will create 150 units of supported affordable housing in London by the end of 2021.