The Christian Horizons Foundation provides funding to the ongoing work of Christian Horizons in Canada and around the world . We fund projects that further the vision, are strategic in nature, and that can not be funded by governmental grants.
Families that experience disabilities face unique joys and challenges on a daily basis. The Christian Horizons Family Camp is focused on encouraging and equipping families in a fun, relaxing and inclusive eStable, safe, and affordable housing is essential to a person’s health, wellness, and engagement with theircommunity.
This is true regardless of the source of that housing, whether Christian Horizons provides itvia shared group living or people secure, maintain and manage the provision of their own housing.Unfortunately, the latter is a challenging goal when your income is limited, and you require developmentalservices supports to be successful in community living. Our affordable housing projects seek to makeobtaining and maintaining a person’s own housing a reality while at the same time building around it anenvironment where the community can flourish, lives intersect, diversity is embraced, and people canmake the support choices that work for them.
Our affordable housing projects in North Bay and Grimsby seek to establish an affordable 4-plex and a20-unit, 3-story building respectively. Both projects have almost fully completed design work and arenow focused on securing funding through the many partners required. This includes tapping into theNational Housing Strategy funding provided by CMHC as well as generous partners that we will engagewith through a capital fundraising program. The Foundation’s participation and support for this work hasbeen critical in the foundational, design, and development phases of our projects.nvironment where families can share their challenges and experiences.
While these projects are multi-year in nature and have not been fully executed, your contribution towardsthese projects has been instrumental in moving them forward. To date, the Christian Horizons Foundation funding has been critical in our projects achieving significantmilestones on their journey. Most notably both projects have developed project teams that include keyChristian Horizons leaders as well as professional housing consultants and achieved a level of design that isnearly tender ready. The project teams have and continue to lead the projects through communityconsultation and engagement, including engagement with local, provincial and federal politicians,navigating national housing strategy programs and grant applications, seeking other sources of funding andgrants as well as doing building and community design work that includes site plan approvals, minorvariances etc.
Housing Project in North Bay
We do not have tenants yet as these projects have not been completed. However, we have heard clearly from people using and waiting for services that obtaining and maintaining secure, safe housing is a crisis in our communities. Prices have skyrocketed. Profit-driven landlords have ‘reno-victed” people and the housing supply, especially in the rental market, is dwindling.
In North Bay, this project will provide two young men that receive Christian Horizons supports to be able to finally land in a stable housing situation in the community. Their support needs are complex and this has to led to challenges with landlords that are unable or unwilling to work with them. Having affordable housing that they can afford, in a community that is deliberately designed to understand and respond to their challenges, through direct supports and community connections, will be a significant step for them to be active contributors in their community.
Communities are not whole unless everyone is included, everyone is using their gifts and everyone has a voice. The Christian Horizons Foundation has funded support for self advocates to find their voice.
In 2019 the Christian Horizons Foundation funded 75 people to attend a conference on self advocacy. This has resulted in 15 groups forming across Ontario and Saskatchewan.
Quotes from new self advocates:
“It’s ok to advocate and speak up for myself.” – Ryan
“Our voices need to be heard, our voice matters, and we can make a difference in the world.” – Janet
“I am more independent than I thought.” – Amanda
“I want to start my own group to get affordable housing and have the government listen to us.” – Janet
“Giving back to my community.” – Jessica
“Attend another conference.” – George
“Standing up for myself when I need to.” – Tiffani
“Helping people know everybody belongs and cheering for everyone in the community.” – Karen S
A Story from The Self Advocacy Conference
Nicole and Velvet, self advocates, write about the conference: Our Voice Matters is a self advocacy movement that stands up for the rights of people who experience disabilities. They held a conference in June last year in Ontario. We (Nicole Giesbrecht and Velvet Tate) went with other people who choose Christian Horizons services and participated in the two-day conference. There were breakout sessions and keynote speakers that focused on teaching how to become your own self advocate and start your own self advocacy group.
It was a very wide-open environment – very welcoming and non-judgemental. We made a lot of friends at the conference. Nicole experienced a lot more joy and Velvet experienced more confidence. We both loved all the pop we drank. Velvet says the most challenging thing about the trip was eating healthy! Nicole thinks the most challenging part of the trip was the long flight. Velvet enjoyed having the independence and freedom of a hotel room and liked hearing other’s success stories. Nicole enjoyed the comradery and also comforting others who were facing challenges of their own.
Velvet got to share this piece of wisdom “You can do anything you put your mind to – don’t let anyone tell you any different – don’t let anybody push you around.” Nicole shared that “If you are going through hard times in life, go for your dreams! In closing, we would like to say that we would like to do motivational speaking, help others who are facing challenges, and help others become successful. In our personal lives, we want the same things for ourselves. Already, these self advocates have taken a leadership rolein their communities. They have been leading initiatives around voting and citizenship and have emceed a regional meeting that brought together Executive Directors from across the sector, as well as our government partners. More speaking engagements have taken place and are lined up for the new year, as well as a partnership with Inclusion Saskatchewan, who has been engaged in self advocacy work in the province for many years.