Your November Update from Gael Gilbert

8 months ago, life for all of us throughout the community. At the time SHOW only had two buildings, and we were working diligently to create support systems for our tenants who did not fall under the current funding guidelines. We were working hard at building new partnerships and began knocking on the doors of health systems to gain allies.

As you may remember, our main site at 362 Erb St. W. houses 30 individuals, all of whom live with addictions, mental health challenges, and quite often, serious physical ailments reflecting lives scarred by years of rough living. Our new site at 402 Erb St. W. houses 9 very independent individuals who require a helping hand every now and then, just as we all do sometimes.

March of this year was one of those times when we needed a helping hand, and I need to tell you how incredibly grateful I am to have a community that quickly sprang into action. SHOW was welcomed to the Inner-City Health Alliance, which embraced over 40 agencies and services, and placed us in direct communication with “the system”. Our partnership with the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Center had given us a doctor weekly and an amazing social worker who supports our most vulnerable tenant.

Then due to Covid, the doors opened so that we could have access to PPE, and welcome street nurses who visit SHOW and provide more health supports for our tenants, two of whom are currently palliative. We were even identified as the best kind of model in supportive housing and have been invited to give feedback to the Ministry of Housing. I am very proud of our staff and board for recognizing the challenge Covid would present and standing up to it in the most remarkable ways.

The spectre of growing homelessness as the economy struggles informs us all that affordable housing is more important than ever. We, at SHOW, were aware of this, which is why as soon as the Civitan Building at 144 Erb St. E. was placed on the market, we purchased it. Our community did not need 24 homeless seniors on our collective conscious, so we knew we had to step up.

The board members of SHOW have rolled up their sleeves, literally, and painted, fixed, and painted some more. They have installed kitchens and different fixtures, and it has been little short of amazing. The building is a bit tired and in need of rejuvenation and we look forward to renewing it by adding units both there and in the future as part of another project.

I hope the coming months are gentle for all of us. Wishing you good health, and thank you for caring so much.