This year Houselink’s fulfilled its 2017-2020 strategic plan with bold new steps to end homelessness and improve services to tenants and participants.
Integrated and sustainable
In September 2019, Houselink’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to become “stronger together” by joining with Mainstay to form one organization. In the following months we have met with staff teams and tenants to share why we believe joining together is the best way to sustain the homes and services we have now, and create the new housing needed to end homelessness. Here’s why.
- To grow our in-house capacity to develop or purchase properties for new affordable housing and replacements for our shared houses
- To reduce our reliance on leased properties in the increasingly costly private rental sector
- To keep 199 Houselink-owned units affordable when operating agreements end
- To reduce our reliance on government funding
- To take a leading role in the Supportive Housing Growth Plan to expand and renew Toronto’s supportive housing.
- It’s by far the most closely-aligned supportive housing provider to Houselink in values alignment and mission,
- We serve similar populations with buildings close to each other
- We share a commitment to tenants’ rights and involving tenants in organizational leadership
- Most important, we both want to build and own our housing so it is well managed, accessible and stable for years to come
- The potential to achieve our long-term goal of replacing our shared housing with self-contained, accessible apartments.
- The creation of housing that our participants would choose to live in.
- Expanded and strengthened supports and programs.
As Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, Houselink will resume its information sessions to ensure all voting members of Houselink are fully informed.
- The former Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network for funds to conduct our due diligence work
- The Community Housing Sector Transformation Fund for funding tenant activities and back-office improvements to support the integration.
Examples of Mainstay Properties
Improved Core Services
New opportunities through our Supportive Employment Program
For decades now Houselink has striven to increase our tenants’ access to meaningful employment, with over 75 participants engaged in part-time or occasional cleaning, maintenance, landscaping, cooking and administrative jobs.
This year Houselink partnered with Aangen — a not-for-profit social enterprise — to strengthen Houselink’s Supportive Employment Program. Aangen will take the role of employer to Houselink participants in the program and ensure all participants have the training and support they need to succeed.
Turning the Tide on Homelessness
Thanks to the Ministry of Health and a partnership with CAMH’s Drug Treatment Court, Houselink is creating 10 new supportive housing units for people with significant substance use and mental health challenges.
Houselink joined with other supportive housing to ensure the City of Toronto’s delivers the 18,000 new supportive housing units promised in its HousingTO 2020 – 2030 Plan. We are encouraged by the City’s renewed interested in working with non-profit housing providers, and applying innovative models from other jurisdictions such as fast-tracking new modular supportive housing.