BENJAMIN PRIEBE (with files from Darryl Knight) The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: North House, a homeless outreach centre in Cannington, came before Scugog and Uxbridge councils this week to offer an update on the centre's recent progress and the goals they have set for the future.
North House will represent Durham Region on Saturday, Feb. 22, by holding its 'Coldest Night of The Year' event, a two, five, and ten kilometre winter walk hosted in over 60 cities, including Uxbridge. The walk begins at Uxbridge Arena at 4 p.m., and runs until 8 p.m. Afterwards, chili and hot drinks will be served to all those particpating in the 'Coldest Night of the Year.' Further information and registration for the event will be found on-line at the North House web site at www.NorthHouse.ca. Organizers were very excited to state that North House has currently reached half of its $25,000 pledge goal; and is looking forward to a great turnout for this event.
On Monday, Feb. 1, Scugog Township council heard a deputation from Ann Watson, Director of North House. Among the key issues, Ms. Watson presented statistics which show that North House was able to help a total of 28 adults and children in the Brock, Uxbridge, and Scugog Townships with their two-year-long 'wraparound' approach.
"Wraparound is a comprehensive and dynamic method of working with clients," reads a North House report. "We have been using the 'housing first' approach since day one, which has been the most successful. The first step to getting someone off of the streets is to get them into housing, after that we need to support them with financial planning, counseling, and health care to make sure they can stay on their feet."
The success of the small but hard-working North House team has not been without difficulty, as the greatest hurdle for their clients has been over coming mental health issues.
"The two greatest obstacles identified this year have been mental illness and brain injury, in some cases it is not viable to ask them to handle their own finances or to work a full-time job" said Ms. Watson. "We aim to overcome these issues in the future by receiving more funding and partnering with Durham Mental Health and gaining an expert who can come to North Durham for counselling."
Scugog councillors voted to send the report on to their staff to be received for study, and offered to correspond with Ms. Watson in regards to Scugog Township supporting North House in its future endeavors.
As well, Uxbridge Council will have a team participating in the 'Coldest Night of the Year' on Saturday night.
At their meeting on the morning of Monday, Feb. 10, councillors forwarded a request to the township's Golf Fund Committee to waive the cost of North House's rental of the Uxbridge Arena Hall for the event in the hopes that North House will be able to direct all monies raised through the event to combatting homelessness in North Durham.
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