As REALTORS®, we are routinely invited into others’ most personal space as we work to help our clients achieve their home ownership goals, and as a result of this privilege, we are in a unique position to truly appreciate the significance that having a place to call home has in everyone’s life.
It is for this reason that each year, Greater Toronto REALTORS® offer their support to a wide range of shelter-related organizations through the Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation.
One such organization is LOFT Community Services, the most diverse supplier of supportive housing in Ontario. As the largest provider of its kind in the province, it reaches more than 4,000 individuals with housing, outreach, and support services, focusing particularly on those who have mental and physical health concerns as well as substance abuse issues.
The organization traces its beginnings to 1953, when two youth programs were merged to form LOFT Community Services. In the decades that followed, it expanded its scope to also serve adults and seniors. Today, it includes more than 1,000 supportive housing units at more than 70 sites in Toronto and York Region where its residents benefit from various mental health and addiction services.
“We provide opportunity for people who normally would not be able to access housing elsewhere,” says program director Jim McMinn.
Greater Toronto REALTORS® recently fostered these efforts through a grant to the organization’s historic John Gibson House. Located in Trinity-Bellwoods Park, the facility specifically serves those ages 55 and over who are suffering from mental and physical health challenges.
“We provide the opportunity to discharge people from the hospital to John Gibson House, and then we work with those individuals for a three to four month period to discharge them into the community to more independent housing.”
As part of its services, the facility’s personal support workers assist with residents’ practical daily living needs such as the provision of meals, social activities and escorts to appointments.
“Many times all they need is that added support in order to live more independently,” says McMinn.
As a result, in addition to benefiting the many individuals it serves, the organization’s work has a broader influence on society as a whole.
“It has had a major impact on the health care system and over the last few years, we have seen probably 70 older adults move into more independent apartment situations and not return to hospital.”
As a result of the Greater Toronto REALTORS®’ financial contribution, the facility has received a helpful boost in covering the cost of its many necessities like sheets and pillowcases.
Additional support, however, is always needed. If you would like to learn more about how you can support LOFT Community Services’ efforts to assist those who are marginalized and most vulnerable, please visit www.loftcs.org
And for more information about Greater Toronto REALTORS®’ efforts to enhance the quality of life of people from all walks of life in our city, be sure to also visit www.TorontoRealEstateBoard.com