Support House was the fortunate recipient of close to $10,000 at the April meeting of 100 Women Who Care Burlington (100WWCB).
Providing housing, programs and support services to people living with mental health and/or substance-use concerns, Support House serves the needs of youth aged 16-24 and adults.
Nominator Kimberly Calderbank, a member of 100 Women Who Care Burlington, said the organization's services are more important than ever.
One out of every five Canadians will experience a mental illness this year, Support House reports. It is estimated that approximately 21 per cent of the population will meet the criteria for addiction in their lifetime. There has been a 79 per cent rise in opioid overdose deaths since the onset of COVID-19. One in four youth struggle with their mental health.
The funds from the donation will be used to help the capital campaign for two new housing units. Support House coordinates housing, peer support, harm reduction, navigation and distress/crisis support.
The local chapter of 100 Women Who Care met at the Burlington Golf and Country Club on Wednesday evening (April 19) to choose one of three charities that made presentations.
The Darling Home for Kids, which provides high-quality respite, residential and hospice palliative care services for children who are medically complex, many of whom suffer from progressive illness was also nominated at the meeting. Burlington Green, the third nominee, works with residents to protect the environment, mitigate climate change and create a healthier more environmentally responsible city.
Facilitator Lisa Bilodeau said more than 20 new members have come on board since the group’s January meeting, bringing the total to 103. The group is taking a summer hiatus and the next meetings will be in September and November. They are also looking forward to starting a teen group in the future.
100WWCB meets for about one hour, four times a year, when three registered charities that serve Burlington or Halton are nominated. Each group makes a short presentation outlining how they would use funds. Members then vote to determine who will receive the pool of donations from the membership for that quarter.
Each member makes a tax-deductible donation of $100 (or $50 for those under 30) to the charity of choice. The goal of the Burlington group is to collectively generate a minimum of $40,000 annually for local charitable initiatives, creating a powerful impact as a result. Since 2014, the local chapter has supported 35 local charities with total donations of $211,445.
Group member Kimberley Calderbank nominated Support House for consideration – it’s the third time she’s done so. She’s always been an advocate for mental health and addiction issues, but noted that Halton has fewer safe beds and supports than other regions. Support House provides unhoused people who feel they have nowhere else to turn by providing them with vital support.
They support people in their homes with rent supplements, taking care of the home and managing mental health and addiction issues. They also have their own homes with 24/7 staffing.
The funds will help Support House in its $4-million capital campaign to build supportive housing.
Support House’s housing options include highly-intensive, staff-supported residences and community support through rent subsidies with private landlords.
The staff team supports multiple needs and works to strengthen essential life skills and assist in connecting clients with additional help in the community such as interdisciplinary health teams. They support individuals to transition to more independent housing.
While mental health and substance use issues are everywhere, Support House offers services in Halton, with the aim of helping to build a healthier, stronger community for everyone. CAMH studies demonstrate how critical access to housing is as an overall first step to a healthier community.
In its 2022 annual report, Support House noted that a person in social housing costs $613 per month. If that person were in a shelter, it would cost three times that. If they were in a long-term care facility, the cost would be six times higher. A correctional facility? Seven times. A hospital bed? Twenty-two times.
Thanks to Support House, last year, 15 people experiencing homelessness were housed; 47 transitioned into appropriate housing within Support House and 12 people were supported moving into an independent, market-rent living situation.
To learn more about their programs go to https://supporthouse.ca/
To join 100 Women Who Care’s Burlington chapter, visit https://100womenwhocareburlington.com/
The next meetings are Sept. 21, and Nov. 13. Both meetings will be held at the Burlington Golf and Country Club, and virtually.
People can commit the following: those 30 or older donate $100 four times a year; under 30, $50, four times a year; team (30+) two commitments of $50 each; team (30+) four commitments of $25, four times a year; or team (under 30) of two, $25 each, four times a year.
Any member who has signed a commitment form will be able to nominate a charity of their choice for consideration at a meeting.