Saturday, December 5, 2015

Coldest Night of the Year 2016

Giving Tuesday provided a great platform for the launch of Coldest Night of the Year 2016 which takes place on Saturday February 20, 2016.

Here is my Opencity Inc Charity Spotlight blog post about Blue Sea Philanthropy who run the nationwide Coldest Night of the Year campaign. Milton Transitional Housing will again be one of the partner charities.

There will be more information through the MTH Facebook page.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Inspiring Housing... Our Future forum

The first Milton Transitional Housing (MTH) forum titled HOUSING... OUR FUTURE was a wonderful exploration from multiple agencies on the need for affordable housing solutions in both Milton and across Canada. There is a clear gap with a 0.5% rental vacancy rate in Milton.

"75% of those affected by homelessness have children under 18"
said keynote speaker Brain Carney, CEO of Blue Sea Philanthropy.

Carney gave a very personal, open, honest account of his journey. He gave multiple examples demonstrating that this is a Canadian wide issue. "Money invested in housing solutions is better", he stated. "You are not alone. Other people are bothered too... Housing matters".

The forum including a distinguished group of panelists that included Alyssa Gremmen Program Manager of the POSSE project, social worker Jason Palmer from MTH, Melissa Hillier Client Services Supervisor at Halton Women's Place described how they had to turn away more than 400 women last year due to lack of capacity, Amber Armstrong Employment Support Worker at Community Living Burlington outlined the special work of Housing Alternatives Network Directive (HAND) supporting those families with developmental needs, and Maureen Andrews from Toronto Regional Police Service where she is Regional Controller for Commande. Andrews reflected;

"Helping one person at a time is really rewarding"

The work of these agencies, including Milton Transitional Housing is making a difference. Four people have now formally graduated from Milton Transitional Housing and achieved independent living. In these four years, MTH has helped 9 adults and 7 children, including those currently in the program. Carney's own perception is that MTH has "been punching above its weight and age".

Blue Sea Philanthropy are the charitable organization, based in Kitchener, behind the Coldest Night of the Year event. The date for the 2016 Coldest Night was also announced - February 20th, 2016. Tell your friends, family and community.

The forum was made possible through the Ontario Trillium Foundation grant. Congratulations to Donna Danielle for an excellent job hosting the speakers and the wider communication team and volunteers on such an important and well run event.

Look out for further coverage in the Milton Canadian Champion. There will also be a Charity Spotlight about Blue Sea Philanthropy on the blog in the coming weeks. You can review more from the forum by search #MTHforum2015 on Twitter. According to this created 27,000 impressions on Twitter.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Housing ...Our Future forum - #MTHforum2015

Come out this afternoon in Milton (November 21st 2-5pm) to the Forum on homelessness in our community. The forum is titled Housing ...Our Future.

It is an excellent opportunity to understand the continuum for those at risk of homelessness and the respective roles of soup kitchens, overnight shelters and transitional housing in providing support.

Brian Carney, Executive Director of Blue Sea Philanthropy – organizers of the Coldest Night of the Year walk across Canada – will be the keynote speaker. Following the keynote will be a panel discussion with participation from: one of MTH’s “graduate” clients, Habitat for Humanity, Halton Women’s Place, the Posse Project and several others.

Visit the Milton Transitional Housing Facebook page here for more details. We look forward to welcoming you at this great forum supported by a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The forum starts at 2pm at the Milton Senior’s Centre Auditorium, 500 Child’s Drive, Milton L9T 5G2 (fully accessible).

Follow the forum on Twitter through #MTHforum2015 @MiltonTH1 or @opencityinc

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Fashionista Flip postponed

Our FASHIONISTA FLIP planned for Nov. 14, 2015 has been postponed due to scheduling conflicts. We will try to host this event in early 2016 instead.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Charity of the week spotlight

I have begun to do a charity of the week spotlight feature through the blog of my Opencity Inc consulting business. Understandably early on I featured Milton Transitional Housing on Friday.

Read my Charity of the week spotlight - Milton Transitional Housing from Friday, November 6, 2015 blog post

There will be further exciting weekly charity spotlights coming up and I am inspired by some of the conversations this has stimulated. You can also read more about my recent blog post A new type of social responsibility here.

The recent State of Inbound 2015 report produced by HubSpot identifies that inbound marketing is just as applicable and valued in the non-profit sector as it is B2B or B2C.

Photo courtesy of HubSpot

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Come to Fashionista Flip on Sat Nov 14

Milton Transitional Housing is repeating the phenomenally popular “Fashionista Flip” fundraising event on Saturday, November 14 from 10 am until 1pm at the Italian Canadian Club, 104 Tremaine Rd, Milton.

Please donate your gently-used high-end clothing (clean out all of stuff you don’t need or wear) and then come and “shop” for a brand new wardrobe for the coming season. It’s the ultimate in recycling!

Admission will be $10 per person and every item you buy will be $2. You can’t beat that! It raises much-needed funds for the MTH core program of helping local people in housing crisis. To donate clothing and/or to volunteer to help with the event, please contact Donna – 905-699-7433/ You can drop off your clothing/ accessories donations at the MTH offices (put them in the meeting room), or at The Vacuum Store, 785 Main St E.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Homelessness is a political issue

Homelessness is a political issue for the Halton Region, Province and Federal government.

Be sure to find out the different election candidates position on homelessness and be sure to vote. It is a political issue requiring your attention too.

Homelessness is not a subject to be bounced between the different levels of government. All levels of government must develop integrated approaches with those at risk of homelessness at the centre of the improved outcomes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Truly honoured

The Milton Transitional Housing summer newsletter included a great compliment about this blog. Thank you MTH.

JOHN’S BLOG: One gem that continues to provide information about the housing sector and MTH in particular is Milton Transitional Housing’s blog written by one of the organizations founders, John Gregory. The blog can be found at or

I am sure many of you understand the history behind this blog, which since it started in 2008 and which has now had almost 29,000 views. So to all of you, a big thank you.

Here is the first ever bog post:

Saturday, September 27, 2008
Canadian Champion Sept 12
The front page story of the Canadian Champion on September 12, 2008 was titled "Homelessness on the rise". It was a special to the Champion by Ryan Bolton. Under the front page photograph reads "With Halton's homeless population on the rise, a lack of shelters in the region is forcing many to seek a place to sleep in cities such as Hamilton, Mississauga and Toronto". Visit Well done Champion and Ryan for printing this article on the front page.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

MTH has a $218,000 Ontario Trillium Foundation grant!

This fabulous news arrived in early April and we announced it at the Empty Bowls Soup Lunch on April 19. The grant will cover a period of three years and will cover about 30% of our annual operating budget each year.

What does this mean for MTH?
OTF granted this funding to allow MTH to grow from three to ten supported housing units by the end of 2018. The plan is to add two new units in each of 2015, 2016 and 2017, and a final one in 2018. MTH has already contracted to add a fourth unit this summer and expect to add the fifth in the fall.

This funding will also pay for the first year of our Case Manager(s) salary to support the participants who will join MTH’s program in the new units in their journey “from HOPE to HOME”. The screening for a new participant / participant family for the fourth unit coming online is already in progress.

The OTF funding will also provide seed funding to hire a half-time Program Manager who will oversee the participant part of MTH’s program. This will free up Donna to build the organization and look for the new sources of funding that will be necessary to support ten units long-term. The funding will also allow MTH to contract for a quarter-time bookkeeper / administrative assistant to help keep the organization running smoothly.

Finally, OTF recognizes the need for MTH to raise the awareness of Milton / Halton residents surrounding the problem of homelessness and a publicity strategy is currently being developed to accomplish this goal.

1st Habitat for Humanity rises in Milton

I was delighted to see the new and first Habitat for Humanity house going up in Milton off Bronte Street South.

It is great to see another family being provided a helping hand of a different sort. It marks an important milestone for another housing project partner, Habitat for Humanity. We will keep you posted.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Milton Downtown Street Festival

Volunteers from Milton Transitional Housing were on Main Street today surrounded by lots of kids getting temporary tattoos.

Ruth, John & Alex on the Milton Transitional Housing stand on Main Street

Again it proved an important opportunity to connect with the local Milton community.

We had hoped to get some videos with the volunteers. This was tough however, given the proximity to one of the band stages. It was a lively day in the most beautiful weather. Videos will follow another time. Here is a snippet of video of the Milton Transitional Housing booth.

Thanks as always to all the volunteers today.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Empty Bowls media coverage

It is great to see Milton Transitional Housing's 5th annual Empty Bowls covered in both SNAP Milton and the Milton Canadian Champion. Thanks to both and other media for your coverage.

SNAP Milton reports that 150 Milton residents and their families attended this Empty Bowls. MTH reported they had raised in the region of $7,500. The Milton Canadian Champion have long been strong supporters for what became Milton Transitional Housing since our early beginnings in 2008. You may also recall that it was their own homelessness front page headline that stimulated a small band of us to act in the first place.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Empty Bowls fundraising success - $7,500

The 5th Empty Bowls event supporting the goals of Milton Transitional Housing has again achieved staggering amounts in the region of an estimated $7,500.

This reinforces the overwhelming support in this largely affluent community for those who are at risk of homelessness.

Thank you to the following supporters of the Empty Bowls event.

Bowl Sponsor: Simply Creative
Bowl Donor: Tree Top Pottery
Media Sponsor: Ads At Work
Food Sponsors (in alphabetical order): Allison's Catering, The Bistro on Main, Boston Pizza, Hawthorne Cafe, La Rose Italian Bakery, Mohawk Chop House, Scooters Catering, Shoeless Joe's, South 202 Restaurant, Swiss Chalet & Gay Lea.

Milton Transitional Housing is a proud recipient of a grant from Ontario Trillium Foundation and The Gear Foundation.

The money raised will go to help Milton Transitional Housing’s participants as they “move from HOPE to HOME!”

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Another inspiring Empty Bowls event

Today we witnessed a true community coming together for others; those at risk of homelessness in Milton. The soup was wonderful, the creativity of the bowls stunning and the sense of community inspiring.

Watch this terrific interview with Donna Danielli, Executive Director, Milton Transitional Housing. Danielli talks about the great work of Milton Transitional Housing, this 2015 Empty Bowls event and the exciting news about a new Ontario Trillium Foundation grant to enable growth from 3-10 units.

Photographed one of the volunteer servers, Sarah Quart.

Watch for the next blog post formerly thanking all the sponsors by name as well as news of the funds raised from this excellent annual Empty Bowls event.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Don't miss your Empty Bowl on Sunday April 19th

Be sure not to miss the Empty Bowl event at Milton Centre for the Arts on Sunday April 19th 11.30am - 2.00pm. Tickets available on the door for $50 which allows you to try the fabulous gourmet soups in your own special hand-painted bowl. But this event is not really about bowls or hot soup although we can enjoy both.

This fifth Empty Bowls in the MinMaxx Hall, Milton Centre for the Arts helps us raise awareness, understanding and actively do something to support those at risk of homelessness in our Milton community.

I look forward to seeing you there. I will be taking video. Please tell me where you are there and why you consider it important to help our residents at risk of homelessness. I will post the videos to this blog.

Thank you to all the restaurants and sponsors.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Annual Empty Bowls event coming up April 19th

It is amazing to think back that the first Empty Bowls event back in 2011 was the first major awareness and fundraising event for what has become Milton Transitional Housing. It is tremendous too that what started as a real vision has become a reality which has demonstrated that it has helped residents in the Milton community.

It is incredible to encourage you to support this 5th Empty Bowls event and show your support for those at risk of homelessness in our community. You can buy tickets to this Empty Bowls and donate here

Sunday, April 19, 2015 from 11:30am until 2:00pm. MinMaxx Hall at the Milton Centre for the Arts, 1010 Main Street East.

Exciting things have been happening at Milton Transitional Housing and we want to tell you about them. The best news we have to give you is that in 2014 we graduated three successful participants who have moved into independent housing!

And one of those participants who has been able to reconstruct her life with MTH’s support expressed her gratitude by saying:
“On behalf of Joey and I, we would like to thank Milton Transitional Housing for the tremendous support and ongoing assistance, in our journey forward. Without your organization, our struggles would have been unbearable.”

Sunday, February 22, 2015

$32,000 raised on Milton Cold Night of the Year walk

Courageous residents of Milton braved the weather supporting the 2nd Coldest Night of the Year walk in the town to support those at risk of homelessness. An incredible $32,000 was raised by the teams to support Milton Transitional Housing achieve its aims.

Visit the Milton Transitional Housing Facebook page or website to view images from the walk. You can also search on Twitter using #cnoy2015. It was incredible to witness the fantastic support across 80 communities in Canada from Halifax to Thunder Bay, Winnipeg to Vancouver. You really are making a difference for those at risk of homelessness across Canada. This was one of my favourite pictures.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Support the Coldest Night of the Year today

Join today's Coldest Night of the Year to support those at risk of homelessness in Milton and among 79 other communities across Canada.

Register between 4-5pm today at Milton Lion's Club. Wrap up warm and remember for whom we are doing this incredible community event. I will be tweeting #CNOY2015 and @MiltonTH1.

Learn more about this CNOY by watching this video

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Inspiring story of Mighty Girl for New Year

Story & photo reproduced from Facebook see links below

17-year-old Mighty Girl Mariah Smith of Hampton, Virginia had a life-changing moment when she encountered a homeless man shivering in a parking lot: she gave him food and a blanket from her car, and left determined to do more. Now, three years later, Mariah has handed out more than 80,000 blankets and bagged lunches to homeless people in her community through the non-profit organization she started, Blankets for the Homeless.

Mariah herself was dependent on the kindness of strangers as a child: abandoned as a newborn on Christmas Eve, she spent the first two years of her life in foster care before being adopted. When she gave away her first blanket in 2011, she realized how much difference such a small gesture could make to a person in need. “The look in his eye when I wrapped that blanket around him haunts me to this day," she told NBC News. "It was a look of desperation and appreciation all at once.”

Her mother, Moira, helped her launch her non-profit, which is dedicated to providing blankets, food, and other necessities to homeless people in the community. Word quickly spread among the homeless community, who nicknamed her Blanket Girl. It also spread among local churches, businesses, and schools, who started contributing to her work. “We couldn’t do all that we do without the support of the community,” she says.

Now a psychology major in college, Mariah spends hours every day gathering and distributing food and blankets. She also speaks at elementary schools, universities, and Girl Scout troops to raise awareness about homelessness, letting others know how they can make a difference: “Once you help someone who’s homeless it changes your life forever," she says. "You think about them when it rains; you think about them when it’s way too hot outside, when you can’t stand to be out there.” This Christmas season, with the help of local donors, she assembled over 850 stockings to hand out, full of supplies like toothbrushes, hats and gloves, as well as treats like cookies and personal messages of support.

In the long-term, Mariah would like to encourage others across the country to join her cause by keeping a box in their cars full of blankets, cold-weather gear, and non-perishable foods that they can give out immediately when they see someone in need. “I just want everyone to start to think about the homeless more and maybe themselves a little bit less especially in this time of year. I hope people will start opening their minds more and think about the reality that people are really going through.”

To learn more about Mariah's non-profit, Blankets for the Homeless Hampton Roads and how you can help support her work, visit -- or read more about her story at

For two excellent new books to talk to children about the challenges faced by others in need, we recommend “Maddi’s Fridge” for ages 4 to 8 ( and “Hold Fast” for ages 8 to 12 (

For more stories about the challenges faced by girls and women living in poverty, visit our "Poverty & Hardship" section at

To show children how one act of kindness can bloom into something much greater, we recommend "Plant a Kiss" for ages 2 to 8 at

And, for more Mighty Girl stories for all ages that emphasize the value of compassion, visit our "Kindness & Compassion" section at