Posted on: August 2nd, 2023. By: Rob Paul, newmarkettoday.ca, Original Article.
United Way and federal government are providing $1.6 million in funding for Blue Door to purchase a fourplex in Newmarket to support individuals experiencing homelessness
United Way Greater Toronto and the federal government are providing $1.6 million for Blue Door to purchase a fourplex in Newmarket that will provide supportive housing to underserved people experiencing homelessness, specifically senior men and women escaping domestic violence.
“It is both very important and encouraging to see government support affordable housing projects for those experiencing homelessness and domestic violence,” said Michael Braithwaite, CEO, Blue Door. “We are experiencing a housing affordability crisis across the country that has been exacerbated by chronic and historic underinvestment in affordable housing. Projects like Blue Door’s scratch at the surface of what is needed.”
With the cost of living rising, and 60 per cent of individuals in York Region experiencing homelessness being men, senior men are over-represented and under-supported by available services, according to Blue Door.
“The road to home starts with a safe place to shelter, where people can access the supports they need to heal, establish stability, and move forward toward their goals,” said Daniele Zanotti, president and CEO, United Way Greater Toronto.
Braithwaite said that having affordable options like this in both Newmarket and across York Region is paramount to helping those experiencing homelessness.
“We are seeing many challenges in housing affordability for our most vulnerable,” he said. “In many cases, our communities are seeing traditionally affordable units turn into investment properties with increasing rents. This fourplex is an example of how non-profits can partner with governments to ensure that existing housing units remain affordable.
“While we recognize that there is a need to build more housing and create more capacity, there is equally a great need to ensure that existing units remain at a price point that is affordable, especially for those who are either experiencing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness.”
In Braithwaite’s experience, initiatives like Blue Door’s purchase of the fourplex can have a great impact for those in the community struggling with hardships on many levels.
“On the most basic level, non-profits service providers like Blue Door aim to ensure that housing stays affordable for the most vulnerable,” he said. “In addition, it is our expertise in supporting our most vulnerable that sets us apart. In many cases we are able to provide wraparound supports that ensure people are able to sustain housing stability. Instead of a traditional property manager or a landlord, people have a supportive team that understands their needs.”
With the increase during the pandemic of women and children being forced into homelessness by domestic violence, Blue Door is teaming up with Yellow Brick House, a non-profit that supports abused women and children.
“We have partnered with Yellow Brick House to offer one of the units as transitional supportive housing, ensuring that a family is able to transition into permanent housing at a subsidized rate within a community setting,” said Braithwaite.
Blue Door will be the property manager and ensure that the building’s maintenance and repair needs are taken care of, they’ll also work with funders for opportunities to improve the living conditions of the property.
The fourplex will consist of a one-bedroom unit, two two-bedroom units, and one three-bedroom unit.