St. Leonard’s Community Services Receives $75,000 grant for New Shelter Diversion Program

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young lady smiling

BRANTFORD, ON | December 12, 2023 – St. Leonard's Community Services, Housing Services is thrilled to announce the receipt of a $75,000 grant from The Home Depot Canada Foundation to implement a new Shelter Diversion program within our youth shelters in partnership with The RAFT. This initiative aims to revolutionize our approach to addressing homelessness among youth in the Brantford community.

"We are very excited to partner with The RAFT and bring this program, with its track record of success, to the Brantford community," says Katie Curtis, Director of Housing Services. "The diversion program addresses several issues. First, the more often and longer you’re in shelter, the more likely you are to re-enter in the future. Accessing the shelter system disrupts social and family networks; the longer you’re disconnected from family and friends, the less likely those bonds will be re-established. Family is the largest provider of affordable housing in Canada and this program will support connection back to family supports while also providing relief to our in-demand shelter system. We are grateful to The Home Depot Canada Foundation for their support.”

Shelter Diversion is a proven prevention model designed to target unhoused youth by providing alternative temporary housing options, support, and interventions. The program seeks to reduce the probability of youth requiring access to the emergency shelter system by promoting stability and supporting them in maintaining their identity outside of homelessness.

With this funding, St. Leonard’s Community Services will embed a full-time Shelter Diversion Worker within the shelter system, dedicated to implementing structured, strength-based interviews, assessing housing needs, and exploring alternative, safe and appropriate accommodation for youth before accessing shelter services. This strategic move is in response to the constant capacity issues faced by our current program, which houses up to 13 youth shelter beds.

Last fiscal year alone, nearly 200 youth were sent to local motels due to limited bed availability, and our program had to decline service to youth experiencing homelessness over 800 times. The Shelter Diversion Program aims to address these critical barriers and decrease shelter access within our community.

This project further strengthens the collaboration between St. Leonard’s Community Services and The RAFT by expanding services offered to clients experiencing homelessness and seeking shelter. The RAFT will play a pivotal role in mentoring and training the team, supporting data collection, and offering technical assistance.

St. Leonard’s Community Services is excited about the positive impact that the Shelter Diversion Program will have on the Brantford community and is grateful for the support and partnership of The Home Depot Canada Foundation.

If you are interest in learning more about St. Leonard’s Community Services and the Housing Programs and Services visit www.st-leonards.com or call 519-756-7665.

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For more information, please contact:
Katie Curtis, St. Leonard’s Community Services                    
519-759-8830                                                 
kcurtis@st-leonards.com       

 

About St. Leonard’s Community Services 
St. Leonard’s Community Services is a Brantford based social services agency serving Brant County, Brantford, and Haldimand. The agency focuses on providing programs and services in Addiction and Mental Health, Employment, Housing, and Justice. For over 55 years, St. Leonard’s Community Services has continued to meet the communities needs while pursuing their mission to enable community members to achieve their version of wellbeing.

 

About The Home Depot Canada Foundation
The Home Depot Canada Foundation is a Canadian registered charity committed to preventing and ending youth homelessness in Canada. Through community partnership THDCF works to remove systemic barriers youth face to foster healthy pathways for change. To create new paths for youth experiencing homelessness, The Home Depot Canada Foundation is investing $125 million by 2030.

 

Youth homelessness continues to be on the rise in Canada, and now more than ever youth need wrap-around community support.

 

This partnership will help them access support services that will help them create healthy pathways to exit homelessness.

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