Tony McEvenue created CMHA’s Home Works fund to help keep people off the streets. Now we need your help.
Tony McEvenue grew up in a big family. He was one of ten children, seven of whom ended up working in social services. “It’s probably in the genes, although I don’t wear the same pair,” Tony’s oldest brother Sinc jokes when asked what attracted Tony to mental health care.
Tony was one of us – people like you and I who believe in the importance of mental health for all. When he joined CMHA Peel Dufferin as the Director of Community Support Services in the early 2000’s Tony was already an outspoken advocate for housing as a critical piece of recovery.
Imagine experiencing your first episode of psychosis. You can’t work. You’re not sleeping. You can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not. Imagine winding up in the hospital where you get the help you need. Where you’re connected to doctors and a social worker who can help you. You even find a medication that works. Everything is looking up.
Imagine you’re ready to go home and continue your recovery, only to find out that you’re being evicted. Because you couldn’t work for two months while you were in the hospital, and you were too sick to deal with paying bills anyway, you got behind on your rent. Imagine what you would do then.
Tony didn’t have to imagine. He saw it all the time. That’s why, in 2006, with the help of generous donors like you, Tony set up the Home Works fund at CMHA Peel Dufferin. Home Works grants emergency financial assistance to people living with mental illness who are about to lose their home.
Before, people who suddenly couldn’t pay their rent because of a mental health crisis or medical emergency faced eviction and life on the street or in a shelter. Home Works changed that. Now, we can step in before families get evicted, keeping them in their home where they are safe, warm and better able to recover.
Sadly, barely a year after his dream was realized, Tony passed away suddenly on February 25, 2007.
He was ahead of his time. So when he died there was no question that adding his name to the Home Works fund was the right way to honour his memory.
Every year, Tony’s family makes their own donation to the McEvenue Home Works fund in his memory. “We miss him a lot, so something like this is very near and dear to our hearts,” says Sinc.
This year, I’m asking you, on behalf of the people who benefit from the McEvenue Home Works fund and Tony’s family, to make your own donation to this important cause. Can you spare $25 to help a neighbour who might otherwise lose their home? If you can, click here to make your donation – it’s tax deductible.
CEO, CMHA Peel Dufferin
P.S. There are no staffing costs associated with McEvenue Home Works. There are no administration fees and no overhead. That means that 100% of the money donated goes directly to the people who need it.