For their leadership in promoting affordable housing and ending homelessness, Blue Door and CEO Michael Braithwaite are the proud recipients of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association’s 2021 Community Builder Award.
The CHRA is a national non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and strengthening the social housing sector. Each year, the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association recognizes exceptional people and programs that help ensure a safe and affordable home for all. The Community Builder Award is a national award which recognizes an individual, a business, or an organization that has had a major impact at the community level in promoting affordable housing and/or preventing and ending homelessness.
This year’s 2021 Community Builder Award winner Blue Door has been a pillar of the community in York Region for over 39 years, providing emergency housing services and supports to men, families, and youth at-risk of or experiencing homelessness. Each year Blue Door impacts the lives of over 1,000 unique individuals and houses approximately 500 individuals in the community. “There’s so much learning that needs to be done to understand the root causes of homelessness. Blue Door continues to advocate at every level of government so they can do their part.” says Yvonne Kelly, Co-Chair, Social Planning Council of York Region.
Blue Door is being recognized for leading the way in thinking outside the box to provide affordable housing solutions for people experiencing homelessness in York Region. In the past year, Blue Door has developed three transitional/supportive housing programs, lead a collaborative housing campaign called 200 Doors, and launched a social enterprise called Construct.
Blue Door’s supportive housing programs Abode, Forward, and INNclusion provide specialized longer-term housing and supports for families, senior men, and 2SLGBTQ+ youth facing homelessness. Providing housing to up to 25 individuals in the community each year, the three programs are the first of their kind in York Region.
Construct – A Social Enterprise by Blue Door provides rapid trades training and direct connections to employment – ultimately propelling people from poverty and homelessness into well-paying in-demand construction careers. The program also actively supports the needs of Blue Door’s Supportive Housing Programs with maintenance and renovations, as well as the renovation and construction needs of residents and companies in the Greater Toronto Area.
In addition, Blue Door is leading a community collaboration with housing partners in York Region called 200 Doors to identify and connect landlords with people who have experienced homelessness or are fleeing domestic violence and looking for housing. 200 Doors has so far resulted in over 250 people housed, and 156 landlords recruited to provide housing.
Through exploring partnerships and implementing best practices, Blue Door is committed to ensuring that affordable housing remains at the forefront of preventing and ending homelessness.