The COVID-19 pandemic has meant different things to different organizations and that includes Kingston’s Dawn House, located in the city’s west end.
Dawn House supports and empowers homeless, vulnerably housed and marginalized women and now it’s also stretched to capacity. And with overcrowding and the onset of cooler weather meaning greater demand for a place to stay, that may be a problem.
“We have a waiting list and we have calls every single day from individuals who want to put in an application and want to know how soon can they get in” said executive director Maggie McLaren.
“And it’s like, geez, we’re taking people from two years ago that applied two years ago.”
COVID continues to add to those numbers. Because of the demand, the facility needs to grow and that, of course, takes money. And that’s why the bulk of a public appeal is getting underway in earnest over the next handful of days.
“We’re looking at having enough money in our capital account to be able to go out and purchase a property that we can then apply for funding from to the government, as well to increase our housing compliment so that we would be able to double our capacity” said McLaren.
Capacity is currently 16, and to change that they’re hoping to start by raising half a million dollars.
“Without Dawn House I would have — I can’t even think about it. It would not have been a good situation,” said former resident Lisa Larose.
“I may have even ended up dead.”
Larose, who is featured in some of the literature for the appeal, can’t say enough about the non-profit and the work it does.
“There’s always a need for somewhere like Dawn House,” said Larose.
“And just because you’re homeless doesn’t mean that you don’t have anything to contribute to your community or to the world. So if you give someone a chance — give someone a little bit of hope — a lot of good can come from that.”
McLaren says she can’t say enough about the difference between the Lisa Larose who walked in through our doors and the Lisa Larose who walked out. All involved are hoping that the Homelessness Does Not Discriminate appeal will only add more amazing stories like hers.