Blue Door’s Home Team project provided children, youth, adults, and families experiencing homelessness with the opportunity to take part in once-weekly activities to help combat isolation.
The project connected people with similar interests and fostered a sense of community.
Launched in May 2021, the project was made possible through a $73,000 Ontario Trillium Foundation seed grant.
Funds from the grant were used to help with staffing, purchasing equipment and uniforms, as well as some administrative costs.
Project coordinator Ashleigh Crookston planned weekly activities, like badminton, soccer, and basketball, with a focus on physical exercise, health, nutrition, and reduced social isolation for participants in Blue Door’s existing housing programs.
“Since the beginning of the recreation pilot project I have witnessed a great improvement in the overall health and wellness of people accessing emergency housing at Blue Door,” Crookston said. “As someone who has been working front-line with Blue Door for a long time now, it has been really amazing to witness the happiness and accomplishment people feel from participating in this program.”
According to a media release, Crookston said participants indicated reduced stress levels due to the program.
While many experienced increased feelings of isolation during the pandemic, for those experiencing homelessness the feeling was exponential, according to the emergency housing provider, because a lack of shelter or ability to travel makes maintaining relationships difficult.
Reducing social isolation among those experiencing homelessness allowed Blue Door to continue to help individuals secure and maintain housing, said Faraaz Moledina, Blue Door’s marketing and communications coordinator, in a media release.
“I’m pleased that the $74,000 grant Blue Door received through the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s seed grant was put towards the creation of weekly activities that allowed individuals to have fun, embark on new experiences and meet new people,” said Caroline Mulroney, MPP for York—Simcoe, in a media release.