December 2016 Newsletter & Client Story

December 14th, 2016

Click here to download CCRC's December 2016 Newsletter.


Offering the right kind of Band-Aid Solutions (Vanessa’s Story)

Vanessa* (*Name changed to protect client identity) and her three children were out of options. They were on the verge of homelessness when Vanessa and her toddler showed up at CCRC. Her husband had recently moved out, taking with him the family’s main source of income.

Vanessa dumped a pile of papers on the desk of one of our Housing Counsellors. She was overwhelmed, and you could see her stress in her shoulders, her exhaustion in her eyes.

As they sat down to review her situation, it became apparent that Vanessa and her three young children were in crisis.

In the pile of papers there was:

· an eviction notice from her landlord for nonpayment of rent

· a notice of extremely high hydro arrears due to the high cost of electric baseboard heating and to the colder weather

· a threat of hydro disconnection if a portion of her bill was not paid within a week

Her eldest child was being bullied and refused to go to school, so on top of all of the stress related to their housing, Vanessa was providing around the clock care to a very emotionally demanding pre-teen, along with caring for her busy toddler while her nine year old attended elementary school.

Her situation was one where every solution required separate action before it could be resolved:

· Ontario Works could not provide an income without proof she was now raising her children without her ex-husband. A lease in her name only could qualify for this proof.

· The landlord would not issue a new lease in her name until her rent arrears were paid.

· Hydro would not allow her to open a new account in her name only, which would make her eligible for the Ontario Energy Support Program, until she paid off her existing bill

In the middle of their appointment, the toddler started fussing over a sore finger and would not let Vanessa focus on the tasks at hand. The Housing Counsellor got a Band-Aid for her, taking away the added stress of her crying child.

Since Vanessa was not yet on Ontario Works, she was not eligible for some of the municipal emergency funding CCRC can often draw on to assist clients.

Vanessa worked with our Housing Counsellor to apply for one-time Emergency Assistance Funding provided through donations to CCRC, which paid her balance of rent arrears, preventing an eviction.

Next, Vanessa worked with our Housing Counsellor, to open a new hydro account, now that the balance had been paid. Next, they signed Vanessa up for the Ontario Energy Support Program which would help lower her monthly hydro bills.

With these immediate issues resolved, and having found out about her legal rights, Vanessa and the Housing Counsellor negotiated with the landlord to get the lease in her name, triggering her ability to receive income support.

Finally, they worked together on a rent subsidy application, to help fit monthly expenses within their new and greatly reduced family income.

Our Housing Counsellor worked with Vanessa, her landlord, Ontario Works, her hydro provider, and the Peterborough Community Legal Centre to line the cards up in the proper order to make sure Vanessa and her three children were able to stay in their home, keep their heat and lights on, and finally find stability.

*** Life is often complicated. Please consider a donation to CCRC this December, so that our staff can work through these complexities, and support those who need our services. ***

Please contact us (see below) if you have any questions about the work we do at CCRC, and how your donation helps us help people like Vanessa. These are not Band-Aid solutions. Through your ongoing support, we help people create long-term answers to problems that arise in their lives. Your donation builds dignity and promotes courage for members of our community when they need to ask for help.

Hanah Howlett McFarlane
Manager of Philanthropy & Fund Development
705-743-2272 x200 or

Click here to make a donation to CCRC.