Written by Tejal Barde, Circle of Care Housing and Outreach Coordinator
I have been with the Circle of Care program since it began its journey with our partners, the North Shore Alliance Church and Health Connections Clinic. The current Circle of Care house has three individuals who have come from various walks of life and have now found comfort in each other’s company by sharing a house and a life together. They find balance in each other’s activities and have shown support to each other when no one else was there.
The Circle of Care program gives individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness a home to bring some stability to their lives even if it’s for a short term. We all know and understand that having a roof over our heads is important and a necessary first step to getting started on our own wellness journeys. This program empowers residents by providing opportunities to develop their life skills, help them connect to the community and find ways for them to become independent and find their standing in the larger community. In providing this house to these individuals, we want to help them develop a sense of responsibility and care that also extends into giving them more freedom to explore their skills and grow holistically.
When someone is without housing, there is little else they can focus on or work towards in their lives. Circle of Care provides so much more than just a bed to sleep in. Our program has allowed residents to see beyond their immediate survival needs and start to imagine both short and long term goals for their lives. We are currently housing three individuals who have experienced a great deal of trauma and difficulty around finding safe and affordable housing. These gentlemen are different in their own ways but they have shared similar experiences which help them relate to each other’s unique capabilities and also understand limitations. Our residents spend time alone but they come together to do some gardening, they huddle together to cheer for sports, watch news together and sometimes share a coffee with each other.
The Circle of Care project has provided a safe space for the residents to be themselves and be accepted for who they are; to make mistakes; get multiple chances and to always have support when they need it.
With the partnership between Health Connections Clinic and the North Shore Alliance Church, we have found a great balance where we have been able to provide our residents with wrap-around care that empowers them to make their own decisions and establish care plans. We want to be able to expand the Circle of Care program so we can offer that safe space to more individuals ready to start their wellness journey.
With our second Circle of Care house opening this week, we invite you to help us make this possible. We have a generous donor who will be matching donations up to $20,000. Donations can be made online through Canada Helps.