Help FHASS Help Home Suite Hope

By Sara Cumming

According to Statistics Canada (2012) the number of lone-mother-led families jumped 32% in the Halton region between 2006 and 2011, with almost 2000 such families living at or below the poverty line. In 2009 alone the Halton region experienced a 53% increase in requests for help, including over 5200 requests from low-income households for financial assistance with rent, utility arrears and food (HSH, 2015). This is of particular concern in an area like the region of Halton where there is very little affordable housing and an increasing, discernible gap between the haves and have nots.

Home Suite Hope is a registered charitable organization that provides long-term housing to low-income, precariously housed single parent families for up to 24 months to help stabilize their lives. The organization’s overall objective is to provide complete self-sufficiency by breaking the cycle of poverty for the mothers and the generations beyond (HSH, 2015). Last year, jointly with the Halton Region, the YMCA, the Oakville Community Foundation and Sheridan College, Home Suite Hope launched Homeward Bound Halton, a holistic, 4-year job-readiness program featuring: affordable housing; free, quality child care; fully funded college education in a marketable skill; personal development support; mental health and recreational services for children; and 14 week job internships with family-sustaining career opportunities at the end of the program. Sheridan College is responsible for delivering all education programs and has supplied each participant in the program with a laptop. In addition, Sheridan is providing internship placements and assistance with job searches post-completion of their post-secondary programs.

Image: Home Suite Hope.

Image: Home Suite Hope.

FHASS professor Sara Cumming (Sociology), hopes that our faculty can join together to support Home Suite Hope. Sara is part of a charity program called Pay-It-Forward that provides Christmas for low-income families in the Niagara Region. Last year FHASS and Sara’s TLA group were able to provide gifts, stockings and a complete holiday meal to three families. (Click here to see the results!). This year Sara has joined forces with Home Suite Hope to do the same, but for five  HSH students currently enrolled here at Sheridan. It’s a big order to fill but Sara is hoping that we can all find our holiday spirit and share just a little of our good fortune with those less privileged than ourselves. Originally, there were 8 lone mothers and 16 children on the list; thanks to some collaborative sponsorships we have begun to fill the needs of some of these families. But there is much more to be done.

There are several ways that you can help out. You can drop gifts off to Sara’s office in C204 at the Trafalgar campus, or email her at sara.cumming[at] and she will come pick them up from you.  If you want to contribute but aren’t interested in shopping you can pick up gift cards and put them in her mailbox outside C227 (but please specify if you would like to give the gift card as a gift or would like Sara to go shopping for the families). You can also Interac email money but please use sarajcumming[at] as the email address.

General gift ideas: Sara would like to give each mother a hamper full of household products (cleaning supplies, garbage bags, paper towels) and personal products (shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, lotions, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper) and each child a stocking (chocolates, candy, toothbrush and toothpaste to help after they eat the chocolate and candy etc.). Any gift or contribution will be greatly appreciated, however the moms were also asked to provide specific wish lists; they are listed below (using pseudonyms).

Ashley’s Family

Ashley: MyGica Adapter

13-year-old boy: Xbox One controller (wired or rechargeable)

8-year-old boy: camera


Jessica’s Family

Jessica: King-size Honsbar duvet (IKEA)

13-year-old girl: large men’s hooded Superman-symbol sweatshirt, large fuzzy blanket

7-year-old boy: Lego Creator: “Changing Seasons,” size 7 Batman/Superman/Minions


4-year-old girl: DVALA double duvet, duvet cover and pillow case (multicolour) (IKEA)


Lisa’s Family

Lisa: acoustic guitar, size 7 figure skates

14-year-old girl: Warriors: Omen of the Stars novel series (v.1-6), movie passes

12-year-old boy: Level 2 Rec basketball lessons (Sundays @ 4:15, Glen Abbey Community

Centre), a basketball

9-year-old boy: kids’ guitar, karaoke machine


Rebecca’s Family

Rebecca: black purse w. shoulder strap, slippers, size 8.5 Nike/Puma running shoes, winter boots

3-year-old girl: Disney Princess Dress (Belle), Toddler 8 ballet shoes and stockings, doctor  play set, yo-yo, swimming goggles


All donations must be received by December 11, 2015 at the latest. As she did last year, Sara promises to update us all on what we were able to accomplish in our next edition of Alchemy.

Thanks to everyone in advance!