Participants, not clients. This is how The Homestead Program, a non-profit organization in St. John’s, Newfoundland refers to the vulnerable and at-risk adults they support.
Advocating for every person’s right to a safe home, Executive Director Robert Cahill says the organization is working to address homelessness across the city, including working with Rogers to help bridge the digital divide, and models inclusive, collaborative language to ensure all participants are treated with dignity.
“Homestead is a participant-centred program, with plans shaped by honouring their own lived experiences, wants, and needs. We meet our participants where they are, take the ‘clinical’ out of it, and build a human rapport,” says Cahill. “When we work together and remove the power differential, it feels different, and collectively we are ending homelessness through a truly community approach.”
Participants are referred to The Homestead Program by the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation (NLHC), which works alongside community agencies to help Newfoundlanders build life skills and access resources that foster independence. To bridge the digital divide and ensure participants have access to the internet, the organization has partnered with Rogers to help participants access the company’s low-cost high-speed internet program, Connected for Success.
“One of the big things our participants get out of Connected for Success is communication, because may of them don’t have phones or internet. Connection is not a privilege, it’s a necessity,” says Cahill. “With reliable and affordable internet, our participants have much more control and self-determination over their lives. They are staying connected to family and friends, community resources and support services, while finding and keeping employment.”
Connected for Success is available to Newfoundlanders in Rogers internet coverage area who are receiving income and disability benefits through Income Support, seniors receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement, those in rent-geared-income housing, or those receiving the maximum child care benefit.
“Our goal is help remove dependence on the organization and our offices to access something as critical as the internet,” says Cahill. “We want our participants to develop independence, so they can do things for themselves. The internet is a critical part of that.”
Working together with community partners like The Homestead Program in St. John’s, Rogers is committed to helping bridge the digital divide through its local investment programs and affordable products and services, including Connected for Success. The program is currently available to upwards of 750,000 Canadians in Rogers Internet footprint in Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland for those who receive income or disability support, the maximum childcare benefit, rent-geared-income housing, and seniors receiving guaranteed income supplement. The program also offers speed tiers to support the evolving connectivity needs of Canadians.