WoodGreen’s First Step to Home is a new program model for helping homeless seniors make a successful transition from living on the street to a stable, healthy lifestyle. Developed by WoodGreen and launched in March 2010, First Step to Home combines safe and affordable housing with on-site health services and wrap-around support.
A first in North America, the program helps 28 seniors at a time in a journey to overcome the severe hardship and personal challenges they have experienced surviving homelessness. Seniors live in well-appointed bachelor apartments, and are provided with everything they need to set up a warm, comfortable home. They also have access to a wide range of support services including on-site medical appointments, counseling, social recreational activities, life-skills training, community volunteer opportunities, and food programs. Expertly trained WoodGreen staff are on site 24 hours a day.
From the simple pleasure of settling into a clean bed, to eating a healthy meal, building positive relationships, and developing and achieving personal goals, First Step to Home is providing residents with a chance to start again, and create a better life.
First Step to Home takes best practices from WoodGreen’s successful work with the former residents of Tent City. When residents of this temporary housing community on Toronto’s lakeshore were evicted in 2002, WoodGreen stepped in to help them relocate and build new lives. Five years later, more than 80% of these individuals had maintained their new housing and health. WoodGreen proved that affordable, flexible housing combined with health-related and life-skills supports offers the best solution for people who have been chronically homeless – at a fraction of the cost of shelters and emergency interventions. WoodGreen is now advocating for a new strategy to reduce homelessness in Toronto.
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Learn more about how First Step to Home works.