Interval House plans to grow outreach programs
Kingston Interval House has released its strategic plan for 2018 to 2021 with three directives driving one goal: growth.
“We want to grow our outreach programs, we want to grow and develop more safe and affordable housing, but in order to do that we really do have to increase our resources and have a more sustainable revenue base to be able do that,” Pam Havery, executive director of Kingston Interval House, told the Whig-Standard on Thursday afternoon.
“We are funded by the provincial government as well as some dollars from the United Way, and we’re very appreciative of those dollars, but those dollars don’t cover the cost of doing business.”
On Thursday evening, Kingston Interval House presented its 2018-2021 Strategic Plan entitled “United in Service, Safety and Sustainability,” prior to its annual general meeting at the Renaissance Event Venue. The plan’s three directions are to increase services for their clients, create more affordable housing, and to create a more sustainable revenue base.
The plan was created after a “360-degree review” of the agency, Havery said. It asked all of its stakeholders, including its clients, how they thought the agency was doing and how it could do better. From there, the 43-year-old non-profit came up with its plan.
“No doubt, there have been challenges over those years, as there are with lots of non-profits, but the Kingston Interval House is in a really good shape,” Havery said. “That is why we feel it is a really good time for us to move forward and grow as an agency and grow in a respectful way in terms of the demand.”
The demands of the women and families that they serve are constantly growing and evolving, but it all comes down to affordable housing, Havery said.
“If women are going to transfer out of an unhealthy and unsafe relationship, and start living with less violence in their lives, they need to have their own affordable, safe housing,” Havery said. “When that is so limited, not only in our community but in our province, that does not enable women to move forward in a positive way.”
On Thursday, the City of Kingston and the United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington released the results of their 2018 Urban Kingston Point-In-Time Count and the County of Frontenac and Rural Kingston enumeration. It found that in both the urban and rural counts, women and girls comprised about one-half of the homeless population. Other Canadian communities reported that woman and girls typically comprise 25 per cent of the homeless population.
Havery noted that those going through its 18-apartment transitional home, Robin’s Hope, are thriving and the majority do not require any more of its services after their year-long stay. She said that often times it isn’t enough to give a woman an apartment, it is all of the services and supports that go along with Robin’s Hope that make the difference. Interval House wants to create more of those spaces for women.
None of these goals are possible without proper funding, Havery said. The Ministry of Community and Social Service is its main funders, followed by the United Way, and then fundraising and donations make about 10 per cent of its income. Havery hopes to change that with a signature event.
“It all depends on funding. We are definitely open to partnerships in the community with service providers or service groups, we’re open to expanding our housing at the current location but also building new affordable housing,” Havery said. “We do know we don’t need to expand shelters. Shelters provide a critical service in the community, however they aren’t the answer. Women and their children want their own homes.”