On Saturday, February 24th, the Nelson CARES Society is hosting its Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) fundraising event. This event will see numerous participants braving the cold, dark streets of Nelson in a walk. These walkers will have reached out to their friends, family, and colleagues for donations in support of their efforts.

The funds raised through the Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser stay local and support the Ready for Home program, which operates out of Ward Street Place.

Nelson CARES is committed to providing safe, affordable housing. This includes people leaving homelessness and those who have difficulty maintaining their housing due to multiple reasons, such as chronic illness and/or substance use. Sometimes, people need support to maintain their housing, and Nelson CARES has created a program to do just that; it is called Ready for Home. This program employs skilled Housing Support staff who work directly with the Ward Street Place residents.

This program provides transitional and stabilization support, including setting up appointments, providing referrals, establishing a sense of belonging and community, and supporting individuals with physical, emotional, and mental health challenges. The Housing Support staff works closely with the 40 residents of Ward Street Place to ensure they remain safely housed. The data shows conclusively that if we can support people to stay housed for a period of 2 years, re-entry into homelessness is significantly diminished, and health outcomes are dramatically improved.

Many of the residents have been in the building for over 15 years. ‘Mo’ who has called Ward Street Place home for 28 years shares “If I wasn’t at Ward Street Place, there is a good chance I would be on the streets”.

The goal of the Ready for Home program is to stop the cycle of homelessness and work one-to-one with individuals to maintain their stable, affordable housing. The program hosts community