St. Mary's altar area at Easter decorated with flowers and yellow and white banners

Simcoe Sojourners

Helping Disabled PeopleSimcoe Sojourners- Friends of L'Arche

The Faith and Light group meets the last Tuesday of each month in the parish hall from 7-8:30 p.m. It is a time for reflection, friendship, refreshments and fun.​

For more information contact 
Jacinta Ellis-Kewin at (705) 728-2985
Our ministry, Simcoe Sojourners, Inspired by L’Arche started just under 10 years ago in St. Mary’s Parish. From the outset, our group, comprised of family and friends, envisioned building a L’Arche-like community in the Simcoe region. To that end, we have networked with other families and friends of Adults with Special Needs. 
Over the years, we have endeavoured to raise awareness in our faith community by hosting various events (dances, coffee houses, partnership with L’Arche Daybreak at the Just Gifts Fair…) and, in the past few years, we formed a Faith and Light group whose mandate is to foster friendships for these young people with peers, caregivers/family members. For the past 3 years, our efforts have been focused on trying to start a housing model for Adults with Special Needs - adults with developmental and intellectual challenges. 
These wonderful people, supported by their families are not eligible for housing support from government funds, as the waiting list is too long. Presently, they are not yet in crisis, as they are living with loving and supportive families who are managing their day to day needs, routines, jobs, activities… In order to ease the burden on the already lengthy waiting list, and in an attempt to offset difficulties in the future, when parents will be too aged to continue to care for their adult children, we would like to develop safe, secure housing that is not dependent on government funds. Our hope is to model a type of housing which, when successful, could be replicated for other families. This vision for affordable housing requires substantial fundraising. We plan to incorporate as a non-profit organization and fundraise in partnership with the Barrie Community Foundation group.
The housing model that we hope to establish will provide supportive living situations for adults needing to establish long term, safe housing separate from their aging parents -- establishing se-cure housing before a crisis arises and when parents are no longer able to care for them because of age or death.
We are inspired by Jean Vanier and the L’Arche movement. Our goals and values mirror many of the values and philosophies of L’Arche and create homes - (non-institutional) - homes supported in a stable and loving community where individuals can share their gifts and talents; where they can establish and sustain genuine relationships; where they belong.Group of 4 people laughing
Adults with special needs often receive pension support from the government and funds (Passport Funding) to help purchase needed services in order to maintain a respectful, vibrant and loving life style. These funds, along with community contributions will be the sustaining operational costs of supporting this type of housing. To help support this value and vision, one of the units in the house will be dedicated to a live in “intentional friend or good neighbour”. This could be a rent subsidized situation for a university student working in the field of social work or a couple with empathy and respect for the daily challenges of living with individuals with “special needs”.
We are appealing to others, who might share this vision, to consider ways of supporting this dream.
Banner for L'Arche Canada