Hope and Homes for All
Indwell is a Christian charity that creates affordable housing communities that support people seeking health, wellness and belonging.
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which Indwell then leverages seven times
Recognizing the Need
By the early 1970s, Siny Prinzen and her late husband John saw a real need in area churches for support for vulnerable adults dealing with mental health issues. With their home already a hub for young people, John wanted to see if one-on-one support would make a difference in the life of a struggling young woman. Siny, home with their two young children, was – as she says with a grin – “a part of the experiment.” That woman lived with them for a year before moving on and getting married.
By 1974, John had organized a group of professionals to devise solutions for families with adult children who had disabilities. That year, The Homestead, as it was affectionately known, was born in downtown Hamilton. House parents were hired and seven residents were accepted. After a couple of years, The Homestead moved from a rented location on Homewood Ave. and purchased a home on Locke Street. Through 2001 that home saw many, many people served, usually moving to independent living within a year or two.
Indwell’s First Apartment Building
Homestead, now known as Indwell, purchased its first apartment building in 2000 with financing provided by Bill Voortman. Bill’s support and encouragement at a critical time launched significant growth for Indwell by providing the option of independent living with supports.
Since our founding, Indwell has expanded both the range and number of housing options. We now provide supportive housing to more than 650 households in southern Ontario through our programs in Hamilton, Woodstock, Simcoe, and London.
Our housing options range from residential care facilities with 24-hour on-site services, high support housing and independent apartments with supports.
New Communities Emerge
The vision carries on as Indwell continually expands into new neighbourhoods and regions.
Board of Directors
Peter Van Geest
CPA, CA, CBV.
RN, BScN, MEd, CHE
A culture of Inclusion
Indwell Welcomes Everyone
Indwell exists to provide hope and homes for all. Our supports, services, and employment are open to people from every creed, race, ethnicity, sex, ability, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Indwell’s leadership are motivated by the example of Jesus Christ as reflected in Indwell’s statement of faith. Indwell engages with diverse communities; we actively identify and remove barriers that prevent people from accessing and participating in our services and organization.
frequently asked questions
Indwell is a registered Canadian charity. We are governed by a volunteer Board of Directors with expertise in a range of skills. Indwell is accredited with the Canadian Council of Christian Charities and has a four-star rating from Charity Intelligence.
We have more than 120 employees; about 2/3 are full-time. The majority of our team members are program staff, in roles such as Housing Support, Addiction Support, Nurses, Food Security, and Program Manager. The Resource Centre in Hamilton includes functions such as finance, planning and building development, building maintenance, community engagement, fundraising, human resources, and others.
We also have more than 20 part-time tenant employees, most of whom provide a variety of janitorial and property maintenance functions.
Staff are selected based on their competencies, experience, education and alignment with Indwell’s values, regardless of their race, ethnicity, sex, ability, sexual orientation and gender identity. The majority of our direct service staff have training, education, and/or prior experience in the social service field. We provide in-depth orientation and ongoing training. Our leadership team have extensive education and experience in their fields and include social work, nursing, recreation, planning, accounting, community engagement, rehabilitation, community development, policy, and education.
Indwell is an old English word meaning to "inhabit" or to "dwell in." Christians use the word “indwell” to reference the change they observe in themselves when the Holy Spirit lives in them, and they become more like Jesus in their actions, desires, and their consideration for others. The name also references homes (dwellings) and wellness.
There is tremendous need—over 2,000 people have reached out to us seeking quality affordable housing with supports, and more contact us every day. We feel called to support those who are marginalized.
Over the years we’ve developed a model that works: a range of supportive housing to meet the various needs of our tenants, a dynamic giving community that enables us to leverage more resources, extensive formal and informal partnerships, and a team of innovative staff ready to meet challenges head-on.
Many communities have deep needs around affordable housing and homelessness. As our tenants and programs find success, many new communities are inviting us to help them create local solutions. We know new programs are possible when three things align: community support, municipal staff support, and political support.
Community support is grassroots: individuals and families knowing housing needs, leaders in businesses, faith communities, and social services, and health care agencies working together to help us better understand the local needs and build support for new solutions. Municipal staff support is critical throughout the planning process, aligning with local social services and housing plans, and putting funding applications before decision-makers. Political support is key from our civic leaders: local and Regional Councils along with area MPPs and MPs each play a role in supporting Indwell projects when decisions are before them, whether for planning permissions, funding, etc. When we each bring our best to the table, we can always create solutions – which leads to Indwell’s growth into new communities.
Indwell has a unique mix of core competencies. We are experienced landlords, providing high-quality and affordable rental apartments. We also provide professional supports to all tenants tailored to their needs, empowering their health, wellness, and sense of belonging. And we are developers – of real estate, new program models, and community housing solutions so desperately needed. Whether through retrofit or new construction, we know how to take an idea from conversation to construction, from rent-up to sustainability.
Our approach is rooted in our values that all people have inherent dignity and deserve to be respected, that we demonstrate love for our neighbours, and that hope is the foundation of our actions.
Indwell is also a charity that is generously supported by people who volunteer and contribute financially.
Indwell is a Christian organization. Our leadership is made up of Christians, and our organization is guided by Christian values. This may best be reflected by our organizational values, and strategic plan.
- We value the inherent dignity of all people as image bearers of God.
- We live out our Christian calling to love our neighbours as ourselves.
- Hope is the foundation of all of our actions.
Unfortunately, under a misrepresentation of Christianity, some have excluded or marginalized others (or worse). We believe that living and working as Christian organization is a mission of inclusion, humility, and love.
Our values guide our interactions with our tenants, within our staff team and all our interactions. Loving our neighbours as ourselves means that we treat our tenants with respect, and we share the joys and sorrows of our tenants with consistency, grace, and compassion.
No. People come to us because they need affordable housing and support.
Indwell exists to provide hope and homes for all. Our supports, services, and employment are open to people from every creed, race, ethnicity, sex, ability, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Indwell’s leadership are motivated by the example of Jesus Christ as reflected in Indwell’s statement of faith.
Indwell engages with diverse communities; we actively identify and remove barriers that prevent people from accessing and participating in our services and organization. We support and respect individual and cultural practices, food restrictions, and other expressions of personhood.
Indwell staff and volunteers who are Christians speak and act from this perspective and we partner with Christian faith communities. At the same time, we respect each person’s choices and individual journey and support tenants of all faiths to pursue their spiritual growth.
Our leaders and many of our staff are Christian. All staff understand that Indwell is a Christian organization and support the values of the organization.
Indwell serves adults and some families, totalling over 600 people. Many of our tenants have experienced homelessness or have had difficulty securing or keeping housing for various reasons: mental health, physical health concerns, addictions, and affordability. Everyone has a need for affordable housing and support.
We build relationships with our tenants, and community amongst our tenants. Through these relationships we work in partnership to meet the challenges of maintaining health, wellness and belonging.
Indwell’s housing model offers a continuum of support amongst our different communities. This is offered through different programs/activities, and levels of staff support. These range from regular weekly office hours, community activities and events, connecting to local community resources, to enhanced supports of daily hot meal, on-site nursing, addictions, and peer support, and increased staff presence. In all our communities our tenants can experience:
- Permanent affordable housing
- Most are non-smoking, pet friendly buildings
- 24/7 on call support
- Scheduled unit inspections for maintenance and pest management
- All buildings are set up to be secure, and we also rely on our tenants in ensuring they remain so.
Indwell is home. We are offer permanent affordable housing with supports. Some tenants have lived with us for decades, and some move on after finding more stability in their lives.
The majority of our tenants have disabilities that prevent them from taking on full employment. In a 2019 survey of our tenants, we learned that 18% work part-time or full-time, 10% are in school, and 28% volunteer in the community or in their building.
The Addiction Support Team at Indwell uses an array of tools to come alongside our tenants to holistically support them in their addiction.
Through Addiction Support we are supporting people as they recover their sense of self, their dignity, their worth and their ability to have meaningful attachments and feelings of belonging. Recovery is not always the absence of substance use; it is the person being able to manage their life better because they are cared for and feel worthy of that care.
We take a harm reduction approach in our work. Harm reduction and recovery are not separate things. Recovery often starts with people taking responsibility for reducing their own harm and genuinely engaging with others around this. An everyday example of harm reduction is using sunscreen when outside in the sun. Like in all the work we do, it is about building relationships that enhance an individual’s strengths. Respecting people where they are in their lives, encouraging their aims and supporting their values while setting aside our own biases, opens them to possibilities they may not have believed were there for them.
Accessing necessary healthcare can be a significant barrier for some of our tenants. Having nursing staff on-site helps bridge that gap. Nurses can help complete health assessments, provide some primary care support, educate around health promotion, advocate for tenants, and engage in staff training. They help collaborate with outpatient clinics/supports, connect with hospital staff if someone is admitted, or help to connect tenants with supports in the community.
Strong, trusting relationships with our tenants help us resolve most concerns. We work hard to identify the source of concern and seek ways to resolve them together. Resolution might involve changing the way we do things, finding a compromise, or asking a tenant to relocate to another apartment or Indwell building. We seek to avoid eviction, and if eviction is the last resort, we seek to work with the tenant to find alternative living arrangements where possible. Through every situation, even conflict, we share common goals with our tenants: stable communities and homes for people to live where they can seek health, wellness, and belonging.
Tenant rents cover about 38% of programming costs, the Ministry of Health about 23% and other operating grants about 20%. Indwell’s generous donors contribute about 15% of our operational funding.
Every project is unique, but in general capital funding for our projects comes from five sources:
Private donors – About 15% of our new project funding comes from the community through foundations, individuals, faith organizations, businesses and corporations. Donations from private donors allows us to leverage each dollar almost seven times over for government support.
Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation – Through the National Housing Strategy, the federal government has made available funding in the form of the Co-Investment Fund. A combination of grants and loans usually comprise up to half the cost of the project. CMHC prioritizes three elements in this program: affordability, sustainability, and accessibility. We excel in all three elements. Our rents are deeply affordable, targeting affordability for people whose primary income source is the Ontario Disability Support Program. Passive House and other efficiency design elements ensure our buildings are high quality and extremely energy efficient. We exceed the percentage of accessible units required, knowing that our tenants often have mobility challenges.
Province of Ontario – We have received funding from a number of provincial sources, most recently the Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative. Provincial funding often covers about 20% of the project cost.
Municipal – Typically municipalities contribute about 10% of the capital costs through capital grants and development fee waivers or reductions.
Financing – Financing makes up the balance between the project cost and what we receive from private donors and government grants. Indwell is able to qualify for low-interest, long-term loans from CMHC and other sources like community foundations.
Yes! People like you provide about 15% of Indwell’s operating and capital project funding. Your gifts enable Indwell to operate high quality affordable housing and provide professional supports to our tenants—as well as helping to create new housing to serve more people. Your gifts are also the base from which Indwell can apply for government funding, multiplying your donations many times over.
Our financial strategy, planning, execution and monitoring are led by our experienced finance and executive team. Indwell's Director of Finance along with its Board of Directors and its Audit Committee provide governance oversight. Our financial statements are audited each year by an independent auditing firm, currently Deloitte LLP, and are publicly available on our website. Each new project must have a sustainable business plan that covers its direct costs and also contributes to the organization’s costs. As we grow, we carefully monitor our debt and leverage ratios so that we can cover our mortgage and loan payments within our operating budget.