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‘Sanctuary,’ 2022. Acrylics on canvas. 9 ft X 13 ft. Sanctuary, London, ON.

How do we re-envision the community to improve services for folks pushed into homelessness?

The Sanctuary community reflects on how the organization could shift.

While housing prices increased and financial pressures intensified in London, Ontario, the number of people pushed into homelessness skyrocketed. Sanctuary, an organization focused on providing a ‘safe place to hang your hat,’ saw a need to re-evaluate its mission. This participatory painting invited those who receive services, front-line workers, board members, friends, and family, to reflect on what makes a community thrive. People left their mark through one-on-one creative interviews, drop-ins, structured workshops, and social gatherings. More importantly, the process aimed to lift the spirit community and act as a boost of encouragement in these times of coercion.

Facilitators: River Ytbarek, Rae Piche, and Dan Lenart

Social Artist & Lead Facilitator: Melanie Schambach

Project Director: Mechele Tebrake

Partner Organization & Funder: Sanctuary

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