Opportunty Live Here: Mainstay Housing

Head Office
550 Queen Street East
Suite 150
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5A 1V2

Tel: 416.703.9266
Fax: 416.703.9265
TTY: 416.703.9267


Charity Number:
119258440 RR0001

Comments on Community

Tenant Gord Singer speaks about his experience getting involved in his community:

Mainstay tenants in community garden Mainstay tenants in community garden
Mainstay tenants in community garden Mainstay tenants in community garden

I was approached by a Board member about whether I wanted to join the Board, and I thought it would be a very good thing to get involved in the decisions around housing. Also I had reached a point in my life where I was able to do more things. I saw it as a personal opportunity for me to be more productive as well as the goal of doing some work which would contribute to making the housing a better place for people.

Ron Sarrazin talks about a committee he worked on:

I was involved in the Tenant Handbook. I was asked by Morag, who works for Mainstay, if I wanted to sit on this committee. I could do something good for all the tenants. We went to several buildings and asked people what they would like to see in the handbook. You meet all kinds of people doing the tenant handbook. Some of them have problems that you may not know about. It gave me a sense of community.

Linda Chamberlain got to know people by working in her building:

I applied for the Security Tenant job, which is a position they used to have here, and I got it. I thought, “Wow!” and I got to meet all the tenants here. You took out the garbage, checked all the chutes and you took all the blue boxes down. This was just on the weekends to keep the building looking really nice. And they still call me today. “Oh, Linda, could you help me cut my rabbit's nails? Could you help with…?” I said, “I'm not going to do it for you, but I'll show you how.” It felt good to be needed and wanted. I know the names of most of the people here.

Linda Chamberlain says this about the neighborhood garden:

In the summer time we started gardening in the back. It started off with only about 10 people. And then as they saw what we were doing, they started coming out. “Can we help? Can I help?” We all take turns, and we have a list and a back-up list of who's going to water Monday, who's going to water Tuesday. We're down there digging the dirt and taking turns. And the beauty is those tomatoes sprouting up. Then we all collect the tomatoes and lettuce. We had a ball, and we got to know each other. We even got the ones out that maybe like to complain a little bit, and they were so busy they forgot.

For many people good friendships have grown out of living next to one another. Gord Singer says this:

I have a couple of close friends in the building. People seem to care about each other, people show kindness to one another. I know that some people in my building have suffered a great deal, and I feel that that does make them more understanding and more eager to value relationships and friendships with other people.

Linda Chamberlain again:

For a lot of people with mental illness, you can't go to your families. In this building, I can tell you from experience, there might be 2 people that have their mother or father come to see them. For a long time it hurt me because I couldn't go to Christmas with my family. But last year I made this big turkey and people who didn't have anywhere to go for Christmas came over. It was wonderful; everyone brought different things. We had a turkey dinner and potatoes and the whole works. Then they helped with the dinner dishes and the guys took out the garbage and we sat back and relaxed and took pictures. This is our home.