Mississauga Library Receives Generous Donation for Homeless Outreach Initiative
The Mississauga Library
received a generous donation from the P. and L. Odette Charitable Foundation for $390,000 in support of its homelessness initiative the Open Window Hub
. The pilot project helps homeless, at-risk individuals and vulnerable youth and adults in Mississauga. The program connects them with resources, outreach programs and better access to services to help raise their quality of life. Over the span of three years, the Library will receive $130,000 per year to support the program.
This past week, during budget deliberations, City Council agreed to allocate additional Library funding that would transition the Open Window Hub from a pilot program to a permanent community service allowing Staff to continue to assist at-risk and homeless individuals in rebuilding their lives.
The City’s Open Window Hub uses best practices from library programs focused on the homeless population. This helps ensure partnerships are developed and maintained between the Library and other service organizations. The Open Window Hub helps homeless individuals in Mississauga by:
- Promoting inclusiveness of vulnerable youth and adults.
- Providing outreach services in the library.
- Allowing the homeless to work with a professional to prepare plans to address their situation.
- Offering referral services.
Over the course of this year, the Library will use the donation to:
- Provide training in mental health first aid to enhance all staff’s skills in supporting vulnerable individuals.
- Invest in Social Work Masters students to intern and provide more hours of service delivery to support both staff and vulnerable individuals.
- Sustainably fund items and services in high demand for vulnerable individuals, such as the hygiene kits and Presto cards.
- The Library will develop plans for the second and third-year funds in response to the public need.
Through the course of the one year pilot, the program has been able to support and empower more than 500 individuals, connecting them with information, support and referrals to agencies across the region. In addition, it has also removed barriers to Library services and increased social inclusion.
The Open Window Hub launched in September 2017. It was funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS). Delivered nationally, the Innovative Solutions to Homelessness funding stream of HPS supports the development of innovative approaches to prevent and reduce homelessness. Program partners for the Open Window Hub include the Region of Peel and the University of Toronto. For more information on the Mississauga Library and its programs and services, visit mississauga.ca/library
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