A Message from the Executive Director and Board Chair
What an unprecedented year – and we’re not just talking about the global pandemic!
Whether it was the overhaul of the health care system, building resilience through a pandemic, or re-imagining how we operate as a non-profit housing provider, we saw we could be stronger, more influential and more effective by joining with others.
On September 17, 2019, the Boards of Directors of Houselink and Mainstay Housing voted unanimously to form a single, strong organization. This bold and freely-taken step, informed by careful due diligence and extensive research and analysis, will enable us to better protect the housing we have, serve our tenants better, and lift more people out of poverty. It is also the breakthrough that will enable us, after many years’ effort, to create new accessible homes to replace our shared houses and build more homes for those still desperately seeking a quality affordable home. We look forward to engaging our membership in the coming months who will determine the direction based on their vote.
Our popular Supportive Employment Program received a boost this year through a new partnership with Aangen, a social purpose enterprise committed like us to social justice and addressing poverty. Aangen acts as the employer for the 75 Houselink tenants engaged in the program, with exciting possibilities ahead.
An outpouring of support and love
Covid-19 had an historic impact on our participants and staff. Social connection and meaningful activity are the keys to anyone’s wellness and recovery, and the isolation caused by the pandemic was unbearable for so many of our tenants and participants. We knew the pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint, and our staff are preparing for whatever may lie ahead. What we do know is that if we continue to experience the outpouring of support and love that we have experienced since March, we will get through this.
So thank you to the Houselink staff who came to work despite the risks to themselves or their loved ones. Thank you to the Ministry of Health and City of Toronto who responded with guidance, extra pay for staff, free masks and sanitizers, and mobile testing teams. Thank you to the many donors who provided restaurant meals and money for food packages, cell-phones and data plans. Thanks to the Sewing Army that gave each of us a mask to protect each other. So many just saw the need and responded.
Whether it’s furthering our mission as one strong organization – or getting through a crisis — we are and will continue to be stronger together.
Board & Management
- Carole King, Director
- Charles Finlay, Director
- Colette Snyder, Director
- Joann Sochor, Treasurer
- Linda McNeil, Vice-Chair
- Mary Modeste, Vice-Chair
- Natalie Ochrym, Director
- Philip Dufresne, Chair
- Richa Jagota, Director
- Steve Rogers, Director
- Brian Davis, Executive Director
- Brian Taheny, Manager of Property Services
- Carlos Aedo, Support Manager
- Carol Thames, Programs Manager
- Charles Lior, Finance Manager
- Colleen Vandeyck, Manager of Human Resources and Administration
- Helen Cheung, Director of Support Services
- Jody Ridson, Support Manager
- Karen Hazelton, Financial Analyst and Manager
- Peter Marra, Fund Development Manager
Farewell to our Manager of Finance
We have many long-term staff but few reach the milestone of 30 plus years! After 31 years of providing incredible service to Houselink, our beloved Manager of Finance and IT Charlie Lior decided it was time to retire. Charlie’s work ethic, principles and commitment to our mission are second to none. Year after year, like a traffic controller, he provided stellar oversight as money came in and money went out, advising us when to put on the brakes, or when to accelerate our spending. In his regular conversations with Board members, participants and staff, he always was accessible and performed his role with humility and patience.
Charlie, from all your friends and colleagues at Houselink, enjoy a well deserved retirement!