Commissionaires gift $25k to Homes for Heroes Kingston Veterans’ Village

(R to L) Commissionaires Kingston’s Board Chair, retired Brig.-Gen. Michael R. Dabros, and Commissionaires Kingston CEO, retired Lt.-Col. Mike Voith are joined by Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson in presenting a $25,000 cheque to Mark Hutchings, Chairman of the H4HF Kingston Village Initiative. Photo by James Osler.

The following is a submitted article written by Rob Baxter, a Kingston-based philanthropy consultant and Principal at Baxter and Associates. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Kingstonist.

In a ceremony held today, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, in front of Kingston City Hall, a local fundraising initiative got a major boost towards funding a new project aimed at providing transitional housing for homeless former veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces (CF).

Commissionaires Kingston, a division of Commissionaires Canada (also known as the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires) has given a donation of $25,000 to The Homes For Heroes Foundation (H4HF), which will be building a Veterans’ Village in the limestone city to assist former members of the CF who find themselves homeless. Speaking from his organization’s headquarters in Calgary, Foundation President David Howard commented, “It is wonderful to receive support from such a well-known and trusted national organization like the Commissionaires, and it could not have come at a better time for us”.

The Kingston H4HF Chair, Mark Hutchings, observed, “I couldn’t have been more surprised and delighted when Mike Voith first contacted me earlier this year about pledging this gift. We had not even started our formal fundraising efforts yet, but somehow Mike and his team learned about our project and volunteered to make this gift. It is a sign of true philanthropy when someone sees a need and steps up without being asked!”

Hutchings also noted that the goal of the Village was to facilitate the transition of homeless vets back into the community so that they could once again become independent and self-supporting citizens.

“This highlights another key aspect of the Commissionaires Kingston’s support as they have offered to train and hire our residents as commissionaires, thereby providing them with a key means of income upon leaving the Village,” he said. 

Mike Dabros remarked that Commissionaires Kingston was pleased to be part of the Kingston Village Project, as it aligned well with his organization’s corporate and social responsibility policies.

“Being a business that employees veterans across the country, we take a special interest in projects that are aimed at our community. Moreover, this will have such a positive benefit for Kingston, where we have been based since 1947. So, it was a logical fit for us,” Dabros said.

Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson pointed out that the 20 mini homes, which the Kingston Village will contain, will save the equivalent of 7,300 bed nights in the City’s homeless shelters. He also noted the generous gift of land for the project from the Ontario provincial government.  

“The fact that this initiative is being funded largely through private support and will be self-sustaining without any direct input from the City’s taxpayers is a tremendous boost to our efforts in dealing with homelessness in Kingston,” Mayor Paterson said.

There are currently an estimated 45 homeless vets in the Greater Kingston area. The Kingston H4HF Village will gradually expand its catchment area over time to cover the region from Brockville to Port Hope and northwards to Peterborough.

— Rob Baxter, Principal, Baxter and Associates

To read a letter to the editor explaining more about the Homes for Heroes’ Veterans’ Village here in Kingston, click here.

For more information on Homes for Heroes in Kingston, visit their website here.

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