What is Community Development?
Community Development is the department that creates and encourages cooperative relationships between Homes First clients, Homes First Society and the larger community. Our goal is to offer clients ways to give back and be a part of their community, both within their Homes First residences and on a larger scale. Together with staff and clients, Community Development works to create an inclusive and supportive environment for our community to grow.
Below are just some of the great programming and events we offer!
Becoming an active member in your community can be daunting while living in a shelter. During Earth Week, clients take part in a series of activities in order to learn about and foster pride in their environment. The week concludes with an Earth Day cleanup. Staff and clients join together to clean surrounding parks, then invite neighbours and volunteers to a barbeque. The program builds confidence and motivates clients to get involved in their community.
The Showcase at Strachan House promotes self-confidence and creativity, with an emphasis on personal flare. Clients, staff and community members come together for an evening of food, fun and entertainment. Clients have the chance to let loose and express themselves, whether through fashion or a special talent.
Every year on the winter solstice, the Homes First community participates in Kensington Market’s Festival of Lights. Clients, staff and volunteers gather at Bellevue House to create homemade lanterns and march in the parade. Afterwards, families join the group for hot chocolate and snacks. This annual event inspires creativity and encourages community involvement.
Type-2 Diabetes Awareness and Prevention Program
The Type-2 Diabetes Awareness Program started in October 2013. Peer leaders learn what Type-2 diabetes is, how to run an educational workshop and other practical skills, like how to prepare a healthy meal. The goal of this peer-to-peer program is to educate clients about the prevention of Type-2 diabetes, a serious chronic illness that cripples low-income and homeless populations in Toronto.
The Arts Market
In September 2017, Homes First teamed up with the Arts Market, a place where artists and entrepreneurs can display and sell their work. Homes First has many clients with amazing artistic skills, but finding a place to display work can be difficult. Together, Homes First and the Arts Market offers this place, giving clients a chance to earn an income through their art and allowing them to further their artistic talents. See our art at the Riverside location of the Arts Market at 790 Queen St. E.