Three churches partner with local non-profit to set up emergency housing fund

Emergency Housing Fund
Lauren Ingalls (centre), Chief Administrative Officer for Westwinds Communities, receives a cheque from Outreach and Social Justice Team representatives Dean and Sally Salter towards the creation of an Emergency Housing Fund.

The Outreach and Social Justice Team is composed of members from St. Andrews United Church (De Winton), United Church in the Valley (Diamond Valley), and Okotoks United Church. The Outreach and Social Justice Team, following up on a longstanding concern our churches have had about affordable housing, met with Lauren Ingalls, CAO of Westwinds Communities, to learn more about Westwinds and discuss how we might support their work. Westwinds is the major affordable housing provider in our region.

We learned that an emergency fund is a critical need at Westwinds. This past year eight families lost their affordable housing units because of a financial crisis that they could not overcome. We have worked with Westwinds Communities to establish an Emergency Fund at Westwinds.

The Fund, administered by Westwinds, will help individuals and families who experience a financial crisis that puts their housing at risk. The three churches have committed $5,000 to the Fund and will provide additional funding as needed.
The Emergency Fund is limited to one use per family ($1,000 maximum) based on specific needs. It is administered by key staff with Westwinds and eligible recipients will be required to take a two-hour money management course as a prerequisite for accessing funding.

It’s the hope of our church team and Westwinds that our commitment to Westwinds will encourage other churches and service clubs within our region to explore ways they can support the work of Westwinds Communities.