February 13, 2023
St.Thomas – As you drive down Talbot Street in St.Thomas there is no shortage of evidence of addiction, mental health challenges and an increasing need for supportive housing in our community. In a unanimous vote Monday, February 13 City Council approves $3 million in support of YWCA St.Thomas-Elgin’s Project Tiny Hope in principle, contingent on a successful outcome from the Rapid Housing Initiative Application (RHI) process and the Provincial contribution requested. With an estimated project cost nearing $14 million, support from all levels of government will be required to make this innovative solution to sustainable housing a reality. YWCA St.Thomas-Elgin will be submitting RHI application on March 12 with an ask of $6.6 million along with their current Provincial request of $3 million.
Council sees the vision of Project Tiny Hope as a huge step forward in advancing the development of a model of supportive housing whereby St.Thomas can reduce the number of individuals and families living on the streets, in camps and in their vehicles. “With over 950 people on the waiting list for housing this generous commitment could not have come at a better time” explains Executive Director of YWCA, Lindsay Rice. “Not only will we be creating 40 tiny homes and a program house but also a community where individuals will support one another, garden, access top-of-the-line cooking facilities and meeting rooms providing safe spaces for system navigation and case-based management.”
YWCA St.Thomas-Elgin, in partnership with Doug Tarry Homes and Sanctuary Homes, launched their Capital Campaign to the community in January with great response. This project will be a testament to the limitless possibilities when likeminded individuals, organizations and businesses come together to make change in the lives of others. Many families and individuals are struggling to pay rent while also covering expenses like hydro, phone bills and groceries. Even those who are working full time still have difficulties finding an affordable rental option in Elgin County as supply is limited and real estate prices skyrocketed over the past few years.
St. Thomas Mayor, Joe Preston, has recently set a goal that our community builds 2000 homes by 2026. Project Tiny Hope will directly contribute to this goal and our community can help make it possible. The site of Tiny Hope, which was once a brownfield property, is now fully remediated. There has been a focused effort for many years to renew the downtown, and the results are starting to show! Donors who contribute toward Project Tiny Hope will be part of a very significant story for our community.
City Council sees the big vision of Project Tiny Hope and just how important the people are that make up our community. You can be a part of brightening lives, building communities. Those interested in making a donation or learning more visit Project Tiny Hope.
Lindsay Rice, Executive Director YWCA St.Thomas-Elgin
(519) 631-9800 extension 225