Homeward Trust Edmonton

Homeward Trust Edmonton

February 02, 2010 15:00 ET

Homeward Trust Edmonton: ROOPH Awards A Success!

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Feb. 2, 2010) - A crowd of over 230 people assembled at the Westin Hotel in downtown Edmonton today to see the 2010 ROOPH Awards presented and to celebrate the great work being done to end homelessness in Edmonton. The 2010 ROOPH Award winners are:

The Larry Shaben Award for Outstanding Service in the Housing Sector: Jim Gurnett

Partnerships for Success: City of Edmonton Youth Council Homelessness Sub-Committee

Excellence in Building Design: HIP Architects, for Immigration Hall

Exceptional Volunteerism in the Housing Sector: Direct Energy, Edmonton Office

Outstanding Service for the Aboriginal Community: Ed Lavallee

Background information on the winners is included following this release.

In addition to the awards presentation, Iain De Jong, former director of Toronto's "Streets to Homes" program, and an internationally recognized expert in housing, delivered a stirring keynote address titled Better and Better and Better: Leading the Way, where he examined the ways in which momentum is gained in solving problems, how each of us needs to assume a leadership role and why it is important to look at leadership as a path, not as a position.

Additionally, Mike Lake, Member of Parliament for Edmonton - Mill Woods - Beaumont, Doug Elniski, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Edmonton - Calder, and Edmonton City Councillor Karen Leibovici brought greetings on behalf of the three orders of government.

"It is incredible to see the work that is being done in the community to advance the goal of ending homelessness" said Susan McGee, Executive Director of Homeward Trust Edmonton. "We are so proud to be able to recognize the hard work and great success of our five winners and of all the nominees. Ending homelessness is a community-wide effort. With the strong leadership of government, the strength of our agencies and services sector, and the hard work of countless volunteers, we will achieve our goal of ending homelessness in 10 years".

There was also recognition of today being Toque Tuesday. This is Raising the Roof's national public awareness day, where volunteers across the country fan out to sell toques and raise awareness and funds in support of long-term solutions to homelessness. This year, everyone is encouraged to wear their 'Raising the Roof' toque to show support for solutions to youth homelessness...

Raising the Roof is Canada's only national charity dedicated to long-term solutions to homelessness. We fund local, grassroots agencies working to alleviate homelessness in their communities; build awareness among Canadians about the true nature of homelessness today and educate them about how to prevent it in the future and build partnerships by giving people, corporations and organizations the opportunity to participate in solutions.

Over the past twelve years, the Toque Campaign has sold over half a million toques through a network of community volunteers, individuals and corporate partners across Canada.

"We have been a proud partner in the Raising the Roof campaign for many years" said Susan McGee. "This year, we're excited that funds raised locally are supporting the Housing First program, which has successfully housed over 500 people since April. We commend Raising the Roof on another successful campaign".

Toques are available at the Homeward Trust office during regular business hours. We are also selling them on Friday, February 5th at Kingsway Garden Mall, 109th Street and Princess Elizabeth Avenue, from 10am – 9pm. Our table is located by Ben Moss Jewelers on the main floor.

Homeward Trust is a community-based, comprehensive housing organization that provides leadership and resources towards ending homelessness in Edmonton. We fulfill our mandate by leading initiatives and programs, engaging community stakeholders and partners, conducting research, creating awareness and funding housing and support projects.

2010 ROOPH Award Winners

The Larry Shaben Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Housing Sector

Jim Gurnett

A long time advocate, Jim has worked in the area of housing in several capacities. He has been involved with the Hope Foundation, served as Community Services Manager at the Bissell Centre, and most recently as Executive Director of the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers. At the Mennonite Centre, he worked on housing and related services for new Canadians, and developed the first supported housing program in Canada for traumatized refugees. This program has since been modeled in a number of other cities. He has served as a spokesperson, and done policy development for the Edmonton Coalition on Housing and Homelessness (ECOHH), and founded the annual event, HomeFest.

Partnerships for Success

City of Edmonton Youth Council Homelessness Sub-committee

In 2007, a group of concerned members of the City of Edmonton Youth Council first came together to talk about how they could address the issue of homelessness in Edmonton. A year later, the Youth Council launched Heart 2 Art. Working in partnership with groups such as the Canadian Home Builders' Association, Edmonton Region, and the Urban Development Institute, Greater Edmonton Chapter, this project raised funds for Boyle Street Community Services. An art contest for students K-12 on the topic of homelessness raised awareness, and culminated in a fundraising gala that raised $110,000.

Following the success of Heart 2 Art, the Homelessness Sub-Committee has moved on to the Streets Speak Mural Project, a partnership with youth group iPulse and United Way. Working with homeless-serving agencies, this project has facilitated the creation of murals by client-artists; they will be displayed at City Hall in February 2010 as part of an educational celebration.

Excellence in Building Design

HIP Architects – Immigration Hall

Working with Hope Mission, as well as Stantec Consulting and Clark Buildings, this project is a vibrant reuse and reinvigoration of a historic building. From its opening in 1930 through the 1970s, the Immigration Hall building served as a welcoming place for new Canadians. Neglected for the better part of 20 years, and condemned and facing demolition 5 years ago, it has been brought back to life through a stunning renovation that incorporates a handicap lift, a green roof terrace, and provides tenants with security and all the basic amenities.

Today, it serves as a safe and welcoming transitional housing facility. With 44 living suites, it serves clients being housed through the housing first program. The building that housed generations of new Canadians as they transitioned to self-sufficiency will now do the same for those who have fallen on hard times.

Exceptional Volunteerism in the Housing Sector

Direct Energy – Edmonton Office

Among its many philanthropic efforts in the past 8 years, Direct Energy's Edmonton office, and its employees, have given $2.5 million, and volunteered countless hours, towards efforts to address homelessness and to reducing stigma association with our vulnerable populations. Their notable accomplishments include raising over $6100 as part of the Raising the Roof toque campaign, and making over 500 comfort kits in 2009 for the homeless as part of the Homeless Connect event.

Outstanding Service for the Aboriginal Community

Ed Lavallee

A tireless advocate for the homeless, and for Aboriginal people, Ed serves the community in many ways. Notably, he provides guidance and hope in his role as an Elder at the Bissell Centre, where he helps people, especially the homeless, reconnect with their culture. In 2009, he brought this service to Homeless Connect, setting up a teepee, and bringing in other Elders to help. Ed's service to the community reflects that having a home goes beyond having a roof over your head; it's about having a place where you can be safe and comfortable.

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