Local dignitaries and volunteers were on hand for a special event on Friday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2022, to celebrate Ryandale Transitional Housing’s recent receipt of a $95,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF). Friday’s gathering took place at the site of Ryandale’s newest transitional house, which is located within the Manse at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on Clergy Street, and which has been in operation since early 2022.
The OTF grant will help Ryandale cover the operating expenses of its two transitional houses, the second of which is at 669 Victoria Street. The money will be used to bring on additional staff for the next two years, as the organization continues to offer services to local men recovering from addiction and other illnesses.
According to Bob Crawford, Chair of Ryandale, the grant money will provide much-needed financial relief for the organization. “The concern of any board in the [social services sector] is always ‘Where do we get our funding?’” said Crawford. “This grant for two years really takes the pressure off the board and lets us focus on what we need to do for our clients.”
With the additional $95,500, Ryandale will now be better equipped to provide additional acute care to residents, including expanded hours of service for its sober living environment, as it focuses on transitioning clients to long-term housing solutions. Notably, the funding is allowing Ryandale to hire more staff, and during a time when staff shortages have more than challenged the social services sector. Crawford explained, “There’s a place in-between [shelters and mental health facilities] where you need some staff that remind clients of appointments they have [and] work with them on some programming, with the goal of moving them to independent living.”
Several local politicians were in attendance during Friday’s celebration. Kingston and the Islands MPP Ted Hsu highlighted the importance of organizations like Ryandale amid the current housing crisis, which was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, saying, “Ryandale is a place for somebody to have a safe [space], a quiet place to call home, so that they can find their path in life. And it’s really important to have that support, especially when it gets cut off by something like the pandemic.”
Reflecting on the relationship between Ryandale and St. Andrew’s Church, Hsu urged other community organizations to find similar ways to work together. “There are other churches that could perhaps follow this model, so I would challenge the community: let’s [take] good ideas and goodwill and the resources that have been donated, and turn that into something with [an] even bigger social impact.”
Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson thanked Ryandale and its staff for the work they do within the community. “When people have been knocked down by life… being able to offer a helping hand and get them back on their feet, that’s what community is all about… I’m excited about what more [Ryandale] can do.”
Ryandale has long demonstrated a commitment to serving Kingston’s vulnerable populations through transitional housing and other supports. The organization hopes to offer additional services in the future. Information on Ryandale’s plans for future expansion can be found on its website.