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[ Annual General Meeting ]

AGM 2011

In a desirable area of the City where high-end housing is a fact of life, supporters of Daybreak Non-Profit Housing met for our Annual General Meeting on April 19, 2011. Once again this year, the meeting was held at St George’s Roman Catholic Church, our neighbour on Piccadilly Avenue, surrounded by the newly developed homes of St George’s Yard. Appropriately, our guest speaker addressed the question of affordability—not just the affordability of desirable homes, but of any home.

Dan Sabourin, Vice-Chair of the Alliance to End Homelessness, reminded us that in Canada 400,000 people remain homeless. In addition, 1.5 million Canadians are vulnerably housed, which means that more than 50% of their gross annual income goes towards housing. Such a bite out of income often means they have to make choices between such necessities as food or heat for a family.

The homeless are not always who you expect. Citing the Alliance’s annual Report Cards on Homelessness (see endhomelessnessottawa.ca), Dan pointed out that since 2007 there has been a steady and dramatic increase in the number of families using emergency shelters in Ottawa. This is an increase of 25% over the past seven years, with average stays increasing by approximately 23%. Single women remain a significant presence in shelters, as do youth, and, as Dan explained, these could be anyone: sons, nieces, aunts, mothers, neighbours or yourself. Many people become homeless because of happenstance, such as fire, retiring into poverty, divorce, or medical issues.

Carrie, one of Daybreak’s residents, offered her story as an example. In a video interview at the meeting she explained how her struggle with anxiety and depression led to job loss and the prospect of homelessness. Once she found a home at Daybreak, she was able to begin rebuilding her life, thanks to the secure community environment and the caring support of staff.

Daybreak’s supportive housing model works, thanks to dedicated staff and the efforts of many tireless volunteers. At the meeting the award for 2010 Volunteer of the Year was presented to Jillian Normand, a former board member who contributed countless hours toward various projects, including developing a capital replacement plan and funding proposals for renovations, and managing the porch renovation project at Marlborough house. Jillian has moved to Australia to continue her studies, but she plans to return to Daybreak once she is back in Ottawa.

Daybreak has recently worked to expand its board to meet its need for expertise in areas such as law, accounting, governance and fundraising. Based on an extensive search and nominations process that began last fall, 11 new board members were nominated to join the 5 returning members and the past president. At the meeting, the Nominations Report was tabled and the following individuals were elected to serve as Daybreak’s Board of Directors for 2011:

Rob Dekker, Chair
Greg Fyffe, Past Chair
Carolyn Black
Alice Kubicek
Bruce Miller
Michelle Stevenson
Diana Bond
Karinny Cesar
Claudette Chabot
Rocco Disipio
Deborah Fiddes
Angela Hopper
Linda Hunter
Stacy Lauridson
Jennifer Leddy
Cory Michalyshyn
Margaret Singleton