About Oak Tree 7
Solving homelessness starts with listening.
Homelessness remains a prevailing and urgent concern in Guelph and Wellington County. Every day and night, as many as 270 members of our community identify as being homeless according to this report.
We know that this is a complex issue that requires a committed and coordinated community effort. We also know we are in a strong position to solve homelessness. With strong leadership from the County of Wellington as our region’s lead agency coordinating this work, we’re making significant progress. Just a few examples can be found here, here and here.
More progress is needed. More understanding. More action. And we know that effective action starts with listening. That is why Oak Tree 7 is looking different this year. Rather than ask the community for stories as we have done in the past, this year we are sharing stories from experts and community members who have knowledge, experience and solutions to share around homelessness.
Thanks to the talents of our friends at Ward1 Studios, we have produced an introductory video and 4 long-format videos each exploring homelessness in Guelph and Wellington through a different lens. Unscripted, raw and at times uncomfortable, we are grateful to all our participants who shared their time, thoughts and passions.
You will be challenged, you may feel uncomfortable, and you likely feel there is nothing you can do to help. We hope you will push through that discomfort, challenge your perceptions and see that homelessness is something our community is leading the country in solving. We also encourage you to open your mind to the idea that homelessness is something we all can play a role in solving.
Watch the conversations
- Watch the introduction video featuring Will Mactaggart from The Oak Tree Project and Dominica McPherson from The Poverty Task Force
- Watch conversation #1 (Collaboration) with Julie Porter from the Welcoming Streets Initiative and Stephanie Pellizzari from Knar Jewellery
- Watch conversation #2 (More And) with Derrick Rutherford from Valentini Hair Design and Kristen Cairney from Wyndham House
- Watch conversation #3 (Getting Involved) with Sheila Markle from Kindle Communities, Kim Richer a Kindle community member and Jason Ashdown from The Skyline Group of Companies.
- Watch conversation #4 (Finding Solutions) with community members Margo and Joe, and Gail Hoekstra, executive director of Stepping Stone.
Our 2022 Gift
In addition to sharing these five amazing conversations, we are also pleased to announce that the Oak Tree Project has donated $50,000 to Wyndham House. Wyndham House is a Guelph-based charity that has been working to end youth homelessness since 1973. This gift from Oak Tree and our generous funders will help fund a specialized social worker who works directly with youth who are struggling with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse concerns as well as unstable housing or homelessness.
The role we are funding has already made a remarkable difference. Thanks to this program, nearly 40% of involved youth have found meaningful employment, over half have returned to school and 75% tell us they are living more meaningful lives. And nearly half of the youth supported have already moved from homelessness to stable housing.
A special announcement is coming
Get ready to be part of the solution. Working with the smart and solution-focused teams at the Guelph & Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination, the Guelph Community Foundation and the United Way of Guelph, Wellington & Dufferin, these videos are the start of something bigger. Stay tuned for ways you can share your time and resources to help move us toward a 50% reduction in homelessness.