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MAY 2018

Green Wood Coalition is proud to present Summer in the Forest, the 2018 documentary celebrating the life and work of philosopher and author, Jean Vanier.

In the 1960s, Vanier secured the release of four young men locked away because of their mental disabilities to found L’Arche, a community of love and compassion for the disabled. The film explores the beauty and wonder of the community Vanier created and challenges us to rethink what it means to be human, to be happy and to truly love.

This free showing takes place at 7 PM, Tuesday, June 5, at the Sculthorpe Theatre, Capitol Arts Centre, Port Hope.

Click to watch the trailer: Summer in the Forest

Members and guests are invited to join us for Green Wood's Annual General Meeting, following our Community Dinner, on Wednesday, May 30, at 7:00 PM. Please come in time for dinner, if that works for you (doors open at 5:00 PM, dinner at 6:00 PM), at our usual location, St. John's Church Hall, on Pine St. North in Port Hope. On offer--in addition to a great meal--will be, a celebration of the great things we've accomplished as a caring community, in 2017, a talk by Perry Bresee, a member of our Lived Experience Advisory Group program, as well as a look at the opportunities ahead for for us.

It’s hard to imagine this unfolding smoothly: days before Christmas, events led to the closing of Transition House, Northumberland County’s only emergency shelter for the homeless.

In a single moment, more than a dozen residents lose the roof over their heads.

This is a crisis, and crises involving vulnerable people with complex needs are not easily solved. You might say it takes a village to solve the homelessness crisis.

Those who stepped up to secure temporary, emergency accommodation – motel space – food and other urgent needs know one another well. They’ve been collaborating for years via an assortment of committees that deal with affordable housing, hunger, mental health, etc. But they weren’t necessarily prepared for something on this scale.

Kristina Nairn, Social Determinants of Health Nurse for the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, says it helps to go back two years to understand what happened next.

In fall 2016 the Northumberland 20,000 Homes Campaign mounted a survey of the county’s homeless and at-risk of homelessness population. The campaign did everything right, she says, setting the standard for strong collaboration.

“That campaign was really a great example, and it spearheaded a lot of trust, collaboration and respect between the agencies. So when the shelter closed in December, very quickly a response was needed, so we all pulled together.”

Poverty is complex – its causes and solutions. Answers demand bringing the right people to the table – people with courage to act and skills to unite all of the crucial pieces – housing, policing, medical services, mental health, addiction supports, food and transportation. For the Transition House emergency, that core group involved the Salvation Army, Cobourg Police Services, Green Wood Coalition and the Help Centre, backed by Northumberland County Social Services staff, and the faith community, led by Rev. Neil Ellis.

If Stage 1 of crisis response is making sure everyone has a bed to sleep in, Stage 1a is placing people in permanent housing. And this is where Green Wood’s David Sheffield becomes “just a very key person in the collaborative process,” she says.

“Green Wood has coordinated the housing for individuals on a mind-blowing scale. He (David) knows landlords, he reaches out, he has relationships, he has incredible skills.”

With the Transition House crisis--as well as an evacuation of 7 seniors from a condemned building in January--in the past, David and staff assist residents to be housed in an area with an almost zero percent rental vacancy rate. Collaboration among the partners continues with their focus on planning and prevention.

“We proved we could do it. We are better if we work together. That’s the message,” says Kristina.

Want to learn more...follow these links:

We're currently hiring for two summer student (post-secondary) positions. Check here for details.

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