Working with a professional photographer, tenants from the WestEnd Commons explored their lives, their community, and their neighbourhood through the lens of a camera. The result of the project is a set of arresting photographs that paint a colourful picture of life in the WestEnd Commons. The pictures are now available on www.thewestendcommons.ca
Let’s raise our paintbrushes and raise funds for a great cause.
We’re hosting a Paint Nite event to raise money for The WestEnd Commons– and you’re invited!
- Where: The WestEnd Commons Neighborhood Resource Centre, 365 Mc Gee St.
- When: Wednesday June 27th, 2018 From 6-8 pm
At Paint Nite, a local artist will assist and inspire us– all while we socialize and paint for a great cause. We will end up painting fond memories and a priceless masterpiece. No art experience needed!
Paint Nite will donate a portion of ticket sales to The WestEnd Commons.
Let’s get together and get painting– please RSVP and register now at https://www.paintnite.com/events/lovely-lilacs-at-fundraiser-event-the-westend-commons-10079041
The WestEnd Commons model of social housing with community support is a powerful tool that can offer people a way out of poverty, social isolation, and food insecurity. These are the main findings of “Here We’re at Home”, a report (link to pdf) published by Jessica Klassen, a researcher with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and long-time volunteer at WEC. Based on three years of research, Klassen finds that the combination of affordable housing and the availability of additional supports are key ingredients for improving people’s lives. In addition to the various resources offered in the Neighbourhood Resource Centre in the WestEnd Commons’ basement, there is a Community Connector who works to bring people together and offer support where needed. The impact on the families that live at the WestEnd Commons is immense. Klassen’s report quotes one of the tenants:
“Before, it was me stressing about what was going to happen to us. Were we going to get kicked out? Like, what are we going to do for food? Yeah, and now we have a place to live. Before I couldn’t stock up my cupboards; we were eating noodles and KD. Now I’m more worried about stocking up on the fresh stuff, like the veggies and stuff. It feels good to not be on the food bank anymore. It’s just the fact that the rent is more stable because of the subsidy that we’re allowed to have while we’re living here. And I found when I lived elsewhere I found it really hard to find happy moments. Here, I’m finding a lot of happy moments.”
On Thursday March 1st, the report was presented at WestEnd Commons in front of a large audience. Around 70 people in attendance first heard Jessica Klassen present her findings, emphasizing how greater stability, safety, and community help people in various ways, helping them lead healthier lives and giving them ‘a space to breathe’. This introduction was followed by a panel discussion.
The poignant comments made by Sonia Cashman, one of the current tenants gave a concrete illustration of what ‘a space to breathe’ means in practice, and how much stress the move to the WEC relieved. In addition, comments by board member Genny Funk-Unrau and former St. Matthews Anglican Church priest Cathy Campbell underlined the vision for a unique model of social housing, one in which the tenants and their needs come first.
On Thursday, 1 March, we are organizing a panel discussion and lunch to mark the publication of “Here We’re at Home”, a report by Jess Klassen on the WestEnd Commons Model of Subsidized Housing. This report is the result of a multi-year research project.
The findings in the report will be discussed by a panel made up of:
Cathy Campbell – Former Priest of St. Matthews Anglican Church
Genny Funk-Unrau – WestEnd Commons Board member
Sonia Cashman – WestEnd Commons tenant
Jess Klassen – Report author
The event starts at noon and goes until 1PM, in the WestEnd Commons Assembly Hall (641 St. Matthews Avenue, lower level).
A lunch will be provided. Please RSVP to Karen Schlichting at email@example.com or call 204-927-3200.
In March 2016, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives issued a report entitled ‘Social Housing with Supports – The Case of WestEnd Commons‘. Based on interviews with 21 tenants, the author writes:
It is evident that living in WestEnd Commons has increased residents’ economic inclusion through the provision of subsidized rents, and has increased their social inclusion through supportive policies and programming.
This report (link) is the first part of a 3 year study of how housing with supports impacted tenants at the WestEnd Commons. On March 1, 2018, the final report of this 3 year study will be released at the WestEnd Commons. Watch for further details.