Hope for the Holidays: 2016 Home Suite Hope Gift Drive


By Prof. Sara Cumming (Sociology) and Prof. Jennifer Phenix (Humanities)

As promised, here is the full article that was circulated to the FHASS listserv ahead of the deadline for collections. Thanks to all who donated!

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.

Image: Home Suite Hope. http://www.homesuitehope.org/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. The program features 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.

Sara's cubicle at the end of last year's drive. Photo: Sara Cumming

Sara’s cubicle at the end of last year’s drive. Photo: Sara Cumming

FHASS professor Sara Cumming (Sociology) hoped that our faculty could join together again 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 were able to provide holiday hampers, stockings and gifts to 8 families. This year Sara joined forces with Home Suite Hope again and aimed to provide 15 lone-parent, low income families with Christmas gifts.  All of the mothers are full-time students at Sheridan and are involved in the Home Suite Hope program.

Sara’s aim was to provide each family with a household basket, four movie passes (the families all live in the Halton Region), a gift just for mom (such as, candles, bubble bath, gift cards) and gift cards for teens.

Baskets were placed around FHASS offices for your donations, and they filled up throughout the semester. As she did last year, Sara promises to update us–once the holiday rush is over–on what we were able to accomplish in the next edition of Alchemy.