London, ON - In January, the long-awaited Community & Services Hub officially opened its doors at 602 Queens Avenue. The program is a proud partnership between London Cares Homeless Response Services, Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (RHAC), the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph (St Joe’s Café) and the Thames Valley Family Health Team (TVFHT). In a supportive environment and based on the core values of dignity, hospitality, inclusion, community, social justice, persistence and hope, these agencies are coming together to develop a hub to co-create community and address housing, health care needs, and link to support and social services.
The Hub provides supports and services to people experiencing homelessness and other barriers to wellness. The Hub is now open Monday to Friday (9:30am-12:30pm and 1:30-4:30pm), providing a place to belong for those seeking community and free supportive services, such as:
- Laundry facilities (including necessary supplies)
- Shower facilities (including towels and toiletries)
- Basic clothing (socks, underwear, warm clothing)
- Service referrals for housing, healthcare and wellness needs;
- Warm meals, and more.
This collaboration will provide long-standing core programs and services, and additional collaborative supports to meet the complex needs of many who will access the Hub.
The former church at Queens Avenue and Adelaide Streets had $3-million worth of renovations to house the new facility including a new kitchen, eating area, an elevator for accessibility, and a renovated communal meeting space. With a goal to strengthen wrap around supports for those accessing the Hub, the main floor offers office/meeting and clinic spaces that will be available to other values aligned community service providers.
“The focus of this facility is really about offering dignity, a sense of community and hope to London’s homeless population,” says Anne Armstrong, Executive Director of London Cares. “To address the homeless population, we need to help in a dignified manner. We may not eliminate homelessness, but to give someone the services they need to get out of poverty, will make a world of a difference to that individual.”
“We view the collaborative vision of our Community Hub as an important part of the “Whole of Community Response” which has become an imperative for diverse sectors within London in the effort to address the current challenges in our community,” says Brian Lester, Executive Director of the Regional HIV/AIDS Connection. “With our collective expertise and dynamic partnership, we look forward to opening our doors as we respond to the complex and intersecting issues that contribute to London’s homelessness and health crisis.”