Hope from Crisis

Every day in my work with SignAgent I get to see incredible architecture projects: beautifully conceived new or renovated airports, stadiums, hospitals, museums, outdoor parks.

In my travels, I’ve visited some of North America’s largest urban centres: LA, Chicago, Orlando, NYC, Las Vegas, Toronto. As a society, we’ve gotten really good at building inspiring, impactful, and enjoyable built environments.

As vibrant as those places are, I’ve also seen tents in green spaces and sleeping bags in alcoves and under overpasses. A tent is not a home. An alcove is not a bedroom.

We have a massive housing crisis.

The causes are clear: spiralling rents and large tears in the social safety net. And the problem is exacerbated by easy access to increasingly dangerous opioids.

It’s not just a crisis. It’s a crisis on the verge of a catastrophe. Change is needed desperately. And hope is hard to find. But not impossible…

Last night I attended the 50th Anniversary of Indwell, a Hamilton, Ontario-based non profit. Indwell creates affordable housing communities that support people seeking health, wellness and belonging. Indwell’s communities support over 1200 tenants in regions across Southern and Southwestern Ontario—with several projects currently under construction or pre-development.

Congratulations to all of the staff, volunteers and supporters of Indwell for 50 years of creating hope and homes! Of all the built environments I get to see, none are more impactful and inspiring than the homes Indwell is creating across Southern Ontario.

As much as Indwell has achieved, it’s just a drop in an ocean of need.

Here are some things you can do to help:

  • Get involved. Volunteer with a local affordable housing organization like Indwell.
  • Donate. Support an organization like Indwell with a one-time or recurring gift. Or check out InDwell’s Bond program — essentially a guaranteed short term investment that helps Indwell get shovels in the ground for new projects.
  • Educate yourself: You can start by reading the stories of Indwell here: https://indwell.ca/50-years/. Then follow Jeffrey Neven, MSW, RSW, Indwell’s CEO, here on LinkedIn to become more of the challenges and the solutions.
  • Advocate. Participate in opportunities to raise awareness with your friends and family and join the movement to apply political pressure for change.