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A First Time Need: James’ Story of Shelter Diversion
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A First Time Need: James’ Story of Shelter Diversion

“I couldn’t even tell you where me and my daughter would be without this,” James says about the Shelter Diversion program. Shelter diversion is a part of the Prevention of Homelessness Among Families (PHAF) program at Rotholme Family Shelter, an emergency shelter branch of Mission Services of London.

James and his daughter were staying in the house of his former partner and mother of his child. Since James and his partner were no longer together, he needed to move out quickly, but was having a lot of trouble finding a place on his own with his limited means.

James had never experienced a crisis in his housing situation before. When James spoke with a friend, sharing the trouble he was experiencing in finding a place to live and how the only alternative was for him and his daughter to enter emergency shelter, his friend recommended calling Rotholme Family Shelter. James called the family emergency shelter, and an intake worker listened to him and connected him with Chantelle, the Shelter Diversion worker at Rotholme.

When Chantelle and James met in person, they talked and set goals. James described his situation and Chantelle explained the steps they would take together to try to get him housing so he could avoid going into shelter.

Chantelle, through her connections in the rental world and with her extensive knowledge on how to negotiate leases, what to look for when renting a space, and knowing the neighbourhoods and schools within London, is able to help those experiencing a housing crisis adeptly.

While not always the case given the current housing crisis in London, Chantelle was able to help James and his daughter find housing within a month from their first contact. Now that he has moved into his own home, James’ focus is on caring for his daughter.

“I sympathize with my clients because I can understand that when you’ve never had to reach out for help before, when you feel like you should be able to take care of things yourself, it can be a challenge to lose that control, Chantelle explains.

“It takes a level of trust to open up and have someone help you,” James echoes.

Chantelle continues, “To build trust we make a plan together. The client tells me their goals and we make steps to achieve those goals. It’s comforting to have us walk alongside them.”

Click (ABOVE) to Watch the Prevention of Homelessness Among Families (PHAF) Video

The Prevention of Homelessness Among Families (PHAF) program operates through Rotholme Family Shelter, a branch of Mission Services of London. Rotholme offers safe shelter, nourishment, counselling, and other support services to families in need, and PHAF is a perfect example. PHAF has three components: 1) Shelter Diversion, to help families at risk of homelessness avoid emergency shelter; 2) Housing Selection for families who cannot be diverted to help them find stable housing; and 3) Housing Stability to help families with life skills coaching and ongoing support after they exit emergency shelter.

A First Time Need: James’ Story of Shelter Diversion PHAF operates on donations from generous individuals like you. If you would like to learn more about PHAF and help families avoid or exit homelessness, then Mission Services of London’s annual Fall Banquet & Silent Auction is for you! The event includes a plated dinner, a large silent auction, and our inspiring speaker – World Champion Hurdler and Two Time Olympian, Perdita Felicien. Proceeds from the event will help families in need accessing services through Rotholme Family Shelter.

You make hope possible.

Early bird tickets: $75

After Oct. 14th: $90

To purchase tickets, please visit: or call 519-433-2807 ext. 2106