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Impact Report 2022
September 2020 – August 2021
Fifty tenants accessing computers and browsing books and periodicals at a library branch in their own building at McQuesten Lofts in Hamilton is just one of the exciting blessings we received in 2021. Another was opening our first program in partnership with the City of St. Thomas this past fall for 15 people coming directly from homelessness.
Reflection is a valuable exercise, and this annual report gives an opportunity to look back at our blessings. We’ve been so thankful to witness deepening partnerships with community and faith groups, agencies, partners, hospitals, and all levels of government in each of the regions in which we work. Although they are not all directly referenced in this report, we are especially excited about our growing partnerships with Indigenous housing and social service agencies. A highlight for several staff members last summer was a walking tour hosted by London social services agency Atlohsa Family Healing Services.
Construction and development of new programs has continued, sometimes with slight delays due to workers having to isolate or because of supply chain issues. But overall, we’ve been so pleased (and impressed!) with how projects have moved forward. Stay tuned for open houses and grand openings (restrictions permitting) in Mississauga, Hamilton, Simcoe, and London this year!
We’ve also been thankful for new funding opportunities that allow us to offer more supports to our tenants, and funding for capital projects. It’s still very difficult work, with times of rejoicing when a proposal receives approval and with groans of disappointment when we receive a letter of rejection—both emotions expressed in a flurry of emails and messages, as many administrative staff have been working from home.
For our tenants and direct support staff, there have also been highs and lows. Our tenants have suffered through isolation, closure of community supports, and loneliness. Our teams have been creative, but lockdowns and gathering restrictions have taken their toll. And as the parallel opioid and homelessness crises persist, our Indwell programs have felt its devastating effects.
Maybe some of the ways we encourage each other will also resonate with you:
• Acknowledge the losses you’re experiencing. Dallas Friesen, our new people developer, jumped right into holding sessions with our program teams, helping them to process loss and grief as they, in turn, support our tenants.
• Do what you can where God has placed you, in the relationships you have.
• Take time to reflect, to grieve, and to hope.
• Understand that you are God’s beloved child!
As we look ahead, we do so with the confidence that the good work God has begun will continue. The apostle Paul writes about it in a passage found in his letter to the Philippians in the Bible. That good work includes instilling hope—in so many ways! And it includes the 700+ individuals who make up our Indwell communities, the 184 staff (including some tenants!) who support this ministry, and the 311 homes in nine buildings under construction. We’re reminded of another passage, also from Paul, in that same letter: “We thank God every time we think of you.”
Indwell exists to carry out the vision—to carry out the work—that you have asked us to. We are deeply thankful for you.
A quick glance at 2020-2021
Tenants leaders in our communities
Despite the challenges they’ve faced over the last couple of years, our tenants continue to show resilience, and are models of what hope looks like.
Allies for Hope and Homes
At groundbreaking events, we are often struck by the wide range of partnerships it takes to create and operate our affordable housing model. We always take the time to acknowledge all levels of government (especially municipalities/regions across southern and southwestern Ontario), architects, engineers, general contractors and tradespeople, neighbourhood groups, Business Improvement Associations, but there are so many more.
Why Indwell ?
As we pursue hope and homes for all, we must also bring attention to the overrepresentation of unhoused Indigenous people in our communities. Métis author and academic Jesse Thistle defines Indigenous homelessness as “the disconnection from things like spirituality, the family, land, to each other, to cosmology, to Creator.”
Indwell’s three-year strategic plan is themed Grow Well. As we anticipate supporting 1,500 people by July 2024 (100% growth), we recognize the need to expand in a responsible and sustainable way. This focuses on four key pillars.
In early 2019, Indwell received a grant from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to showcase our unique model as part of the National Housing Strategy’s Demonstrations Initiative. As part of this project, we developed numerous resources that demonstrate our model and equip other organizations, our staff, volunteers, and tenants to make the most of our high-quality housing and supports.
Fiscal 2021 was a challenging year operationally. As the pandemic continued, the added stressors it created have had an impact on all of us, including our tenants and staff. Through it all, our supporters have been incredible and we are completely overwhelmed by God’s grace and the generosity of our community.
We continued to experience significant growth this year with two programs opening, seven construction projects underway by year end with more in the development pipeline, and an expanded staff team. We are grateful and humbled by the steady faithfulness of our many partners and by the hundreds who began partnering for the first time. Your giving has matched the growth in current (and future!) programs.
From the bottom of our hearts, I want to say a huge thank you. It is you—the individuals, partner organizations, community and family foundations, government representatives, municipal staff, churches, prayer partners, and donors of all kinds—that make hope and homes a reality for over 700 (soon to be over 1,000!) of our neighbours.
We are honoured to be your partner in the mission to end homelessness, and create permanent solutions for health, wellness, and belonging, and with your continued support we look with hope to more lives being transformed in the days to come.