Conversation 3 – Getting Involved

Solving homelessness starts with listening.

That is why Oak Tree7 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.

This video features Sheila Markle from Kindle Communities, Kim Richer a Kindle community member and Jason Ashdown from The Skyline Group of companies.

About Kindle Communities – Kindle Communities is a non-profit landlord that believes everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. They are the project leader of a new five-storey apartment building that will provide Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) to 32 Guelph community members who are experiencing homelessness. Learn more here.

About The Skyline Group of Companies – Skyline Group of Companies is comprised of brands that provide services in real estate (apartment, commercial, and retail), new property development, and clean energy.  With nearly 1,000 employees across Canada, Skyline works to provide safe, clean, and comfortable places for tenants to call home, great places to do business and sustainable solutions for a greener future. Learn more here.

What we heard from this conversation:

  • Homelessness can happen to anyone and it’s not because people are lazy
  • Skyline’s financial and in-kind contribution to this project was a major reason this project has come together so quickly
  • Community support makes the difference before, during and after the construction of projects like this
  • Permanent Supportive Housing is key to solving homelessness. These projects need capital funding to build homes and operating funds to run programs
  • Affordable rental housing is also key to solving homelessness.  The County of Wellington has started an interesting conversation about attainable housing. Learn more here.

Our Oak Tree 7 listening has taught us that:

  • Homelessness is unbearable                    
  • Homelessness is a system failure
  • Homelessness is closer than we think
  • Homelessness is solvable

What did you learn? Questions for you to reflect on:

  • How has this video changed your perception of homelessness?
  • How do you respond to Sheila’s story about people in their community connecting with homeless individuals without knowing they are homeless?
  • Our speakers each referenced conversations they heard about ‘them’, referring to people who are living without a home. What can you do to change the conversation from ‘them’ to ‘us’.
  • We have all heard of NIMBY (Not In My Backyard). The Poverty Task Force is encouraging us to think about YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard). Learn more about it here. What can you do to encourage permanent housing solutions in your community?
Top five factors identified by participants as contributing to most recent loss of housing.

Learn More: Stats and information compiled and shared by the County of Wellington from the 2021 Everyone Counts report. See the full youth report here.

Watch Video #5 – Finding Solutions