Expanding Newcomer Services in Guelph

Lutherwood has experienced high demand for its employment services for newcomers. In the
Spring of 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada granted Lutherwood funding
to create its Newcomer Employment Navigation Program to fill some gaps between existing
employment services and other services in the Guelph area. The program for new immigrants
to Canada allows navigators to go to clients’ homes, communities, and workplaces to help
them with digital literacy concerns, income and benefit access, and job coaching. The program
has expanded employment opportunities for newcomers and local employers are now reaping
the rewards. Two years later, the highly successful program continues to expand its staff
complement as it tries to keep up with an eightfold increase in clients.

Life Launch Expands

Life Launch is a very successful donor-supported program for youth who have accessed Safe
Haven’s Crisis Services and are looking for long term housing. We work with the youth to
prepare them for independent living by helping them develop life and social skills, understand
and manage their health needs, attend school, and explore employment opportunities.
Once housed, we continue to support them to maintain their housing and connect them to
community services. With demand significantly exceeding capacity, Lutherwood has found
some generous donors to expand the program from two to eight beds. We are upgrading the
space to make it warmer and more inviting, converting six offices into bedrooms, remodeling
two bathrooms, and adding a comfortable lounge space for youth to socialize, study and
participate in programs.

Partnership Supports People Seeking Trade Opportunities

Employment Services clients looking to start a career in the trades are benefiting from
Lutherwood’s unique partnership with Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC). CLAC
is funding supports not available through government-funded employment and training
programs. This helps eligible clients obtain training and certifications required for employment,
pre-apprenticeship training tuition, as well as tools, work attire or other equipment needed to
start work. In addition, Lutherwood screened candidates for CLAC’s “Construction 101 Bootcamp” – a three-week training program with an eight-week job placement that provides participants with the skills and safety training they need to get hired as construction workers.

Creating a Sense of Belonging

Continuing our commitment to embed anti-racist, anti-oppressive practices throughout the
agency, we are making significant progress in the five priority areas of our equity strategy. This
includes updating our Human Rights, Anti-discrimination, Anti-harassment policy and the
Equity Leadership Council’s establishment of “Conversation Circles” as safe spaces for BIPOC,
2SLGBTQ+ and historically/presently marginalized staff members to connect. By creating a
sense of belonging, Lutherwood will ultimately enhance its services for the entire community.

Youth Justice Training

With 53 years of children’s mental health experience, Lutherwood was invited by the Ministry of
Children, Community and Social Services to develop and deliver training to youth justice service
staff across Ontario. Four sessions of “Supporting Youth with Mental Health Challenges” were
delivered to over 100 workers. Topics included the prevalence of mental health issues in youth
justice, strategies for supporting youth mental health in justice settings, and understanding the
role of race, culture, ethnicity, and religion in mental health and marginalized communities.

A Community Approach to End Homelessness

Homelessness has become an increasingly difficult problem nationally. Lutherwood is proud
to be part of a community collaboration that includes the Region of Waterloo and many
other partners working together to find and implement compassionate short- and long-term
solutions. Last fiscal year, 10,715 households accessed Lutherwood’s Housing Resource Centers
and we helped 5,441 of them avoid eviction or find new housing. In addition, we housed 406
individuals and families from homelessness.

Accredited Children’s Mental Health Services

Lutherwood is now accredited through Accreditation Canada. Accreditation is an ongoing
process of assessing services against standards of excellence to identify what is being done well
and what needs to be improved. Accreditation gives client assurance that Lutherwood’s services
meet nationally established quality care standards, it continuously improves the quality of its
service, and it is serious about professional development. The surveyors commented on the
staff’s level of dedication and the excellent services provided to the community.