1 Connection to faith communities / 85 21a Process of accepting a new resident: screening intake form / 148 2 Sample fund raising letter to diocese / 86 21b Process of accepting a new resident: overview / 149 3a Sample letters to faith communities: from a new group / 87 21c Process of accepting a new resident: Resident interview package, 3b Sample letters to faith communities: from L‘Abri en Ville / 88 short form / 150 4a Speaker‘s guidelines and suggestions / 89 21d Process of accepting a new resident: Resident interview package, 4b Examples of Presentations / 90 interview guidelines / 151 5 Sample notice for Sunday bulletin / 93 22 Resident application form / 153 6 Sample leaflet / 94 23 Resident applicant interview assessment / 155 7 Sample thank – you not / 95 24a Information release request / 157 8 Pamphlet / 96 24b Request for a psycho-social report / 158 9 L‘Abri en Ville: an overview / 98 24c Request for a psycho-social report: alternate form / 159 25 House meeting form / 161 10 Newsletter / 99 26 Sample monthly schedule / 162 11 Annual report / 101 27 Summer camp plan / 163 12 Lettres patentes / 103 28 Criteria for residents / 164 13 L‘Abri en Ville constitution and by-laws / 105 29 Preplan for illness / 165 14 Registration / 113 30 House rules and conditions of departure / 166 15a Sample budgets: L‘Abri en Ville early budgets / 115 31 Team treasurer‘s report / 168 15b Sample budgets: L‘Abri en Ville 1992–93 budget / 116 32a Volunteer training: volunteer orientation and support / 169 15c Sample budgets: L‘Abri en Ville 2001–02 budget / 118 32b Volunteer training: volunteer orientation sessions / 172 15d Sample budgets: Les toits d‘Émile anticipated budget / 119 32c Volunteer training: sample letter to a psychiatric expert / 175 16a Sample fundraising letters: 1991 formal letter to new donors / 120 32d Volunteer training: a L‘Abri en Ville volunteer workshop for 16b Sample fundraising letters: 1991 personal letter / 121 ongoing training / 176 16c Sample fundraising letters: 2001 letter to new donors / 122 33a Volunteer application / 178 16d Sample fundraising letters: 2001 letter to previous donors / 123 33b Request for volunteer reference / 180 17a Sample thank you letters: to a faith community / 125 34a L‘Abri en Ville‘s Expectations of Volunteers / 181 17b Sample thank you letters: to a foundation (2) / 126 34b The spirit of volunteer teams / 182 17c Sample thank you letters: to a club / 128 35 Appreciation and sample invitations to volunteers / 183 17d Sample thank you letters: to an individual / 129 36 Apartment check-list / 185 18 Fundraising letters to foundations: 1991 and 1994 / 131 37 Apartment upkeep policy / 187 19 1991 Concept paper / 133 38 Addresses and contact information / 189 20a Coordinator hiring package: job profile / 137 20b Coordinator hiring package: interview questions / 139 Resources / 191 20c Coordinator hiring package: interview tips / 143 20d Coordinator hiring package: staff evaluation / 145
Connection to Faith Communities
See Chapter 1, Section “The Importance of Faith Communities to the L’Abri en Ville Model” p. 13
Why does L‘Abri en Ville have a partnership with faith communities?
L‘Abri en Ville is not a religious organization but is connected to numerous faith communities, including Unitarian, United, Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian and Jewish.
From these faith communities, L‘Abri en Ville receives the gifts of volunteers working with residents
and on the L‘Abri board, furniture, large and small meeting spaces, and often, financial help. When we have volunteers from a faith community, we can go back to that community time and again to ask for help. In the past number of years, the residents have been welcomed into our sponsoring faith communities to sell the cards they have designed. These sales help to defray the cost of camp and fund other special resident activities.
When a volunteer comes from a faith community, s/he comes not only as an individual who is putting her/his beliefs into action, but as part of the commitment of the faith community itself. For instance, at the Unitarian congregation where some eight members volunteer at L‘Abri, Eleanor Beattie recently
spoke one Sunday of the success of the Replication Project, and the whole congregation applauded. The Unitarian congregation has taken its ownership of this project.
All of our sponsoring faith communities feel this kind of ownership of L‘Abri. What individuals within those faith communities do becomes part of the ministry of that congregation. For L‘Abri, how powerful it is to be supported by many whole congregations! For the faith community, it is strengthened as it shares in the positive good that comes from the various involvements.
Of course, not all our volunteers come from faith communities. This is not a demand of ours; nor is it a reality. Wonderful volunteers have come through the personal contacts of L‘Abri supporters. But unlike
many other organizations that ask for volunteers through, for example, the Volunteer Bureau, we have never had difficulty in attracting or keeping volunteers; indeed, most of our earliest volunteers are still with us. The spirit of long-term commitment of the faith communities translates into a collective ethic of personal commitment for all our volunteers, church-goers or not.
In summary, we have found that there is a deep congruence between the purpose and spirit of L‘Abri and
that of faith communities, and that our partnership has enriched us both.
Sample Fundraising Letter to Diocese
See Chapter 1, Section “What Faith Communities Can Offer” p. 14
Dear _______________ ,
Earlier this year, L‘Abri en Ville received a very kind letter from Canon ___________________ ,
suggesting that we might apply for funds from the Diocese of Montreal‘s Social Outreach Funds. The Anglican Diocese has generously helped us in the past; indeed, L‘Abri en Ville was able to open its first
apartment for three people in 1991 because of the $5,000 grant from the Diocese. In November, our sixth apartment will open, supporting three more people with serious psychiatric illnesses. As you will see from our literature, L‘Abri en Ville rents the apartment, furnishes it as beautifully as possible with
donated furnishings, and trains volunteer-advocates out of the faith communities to help the residents to develop all kinds of living skills.
As we come closer to setting up this sixth apartment, we have need of some furnishing and equipment that has not been donated. If the Diocese could contribute to the cost of all or part of these items, we would greatly appreciate the help.
Three beds: we always buy new mattresses but we need beds as well: Cost: $1,500
Linens and Bathroom Equipment: Three sets of towels, long mirror, shower curtain, bath mat, laundry basket. Cost $200
Microwave Oven and Electric Coffee Pot: Cost $430
Television and a VCR: Although this may seem a frivolous request, these two items are, for the residents on a limited budget, an important means of social entertainment and education in the apartment. Cost $700
Thank you so much for your attention to this matter. If you wish further information, you could call me at ________________ or the Coordinator, ________________ , at the office. I am enclos ing our last budget, some letters of support and an outline of the project.
_______________ , Board Member,
L‘Abri en Ville
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Sample Letters to Faith Communities:
from a New Group
See Chapter 1, Section “Making Contact with Faith Communities” p. 14
Dear Father/Rev __________________ ,
We write to you as a group of parents of children with a serious mental illness who are organized into a support group, The South Shore AMI-Quebec (Alliance for the Mentally Ill). One of our greatest concerns is finding supportive housing for our family members who are often isolated because of their illness. Thus they need concrete support and social contacts to maintain stability and to enjoy a full and active life. Recently we have been inspired by a faith-based housing project in downtown Montreal, L‘Abri en Ville. This
interfaith project organizes permanent housing by setting up apartments for three men or three women, supported by volunteers from faith communities. We have enclosed some literature on this project including letters of support.
L‘Abri en Ville has received a grant from the Federal Government to replicate its project. We are very interested in being part of this replication. As parents with the burden of caring for our children, we need the energy and perspective of those outside our group. As well as the assistance of L‘Abri en Ville, we need the support of spiritual communities that have the power and the will to welcome, to accept, to learn and to alleviate the pain of isolation.
We ask if we may meet with you at your earliest convenience to discuss our work and how your church may be willing to participate. In conjunction with the faith communities, we would like to have this project well underway in September. If you feel that any members of your church would be interested in helping with this project, we hope that you will contact one our mem
bers, ____________________ , at ______________________ .
Sample Letters to Faith Communities: from
L’Abri en Ville
See Chapter 1, Section “Making Contact with Faith Communities” p. 14
Dear Reverend _________________ ,
L‘Abri en Ville is an alternative to homelessness and loneliness for those with a serious mental illness
such as schizophrenia. This interfaith project organizes permanent housing by setting up apartments for three men or three women, supported by volunteers from faith communities. We have enclosed some literature for further information.
L‘Abri en Ville (Shelter in the City) would like to speak to your congregation about the challenge and
satisfaction of being part of a community that helps people with a mental illness learn to live more autonomous lives in the security of a supportive environment. They are helped with budgeting, cooking, keeping house and finding recreation so that they can carry on everyday lives. We live with the hope of opening a fifth apartment this year. We would welcome the opportunity to speak to your congregation in (month) about helping with our project. To arrange this engagement, we will be calling you very soon. Your community can provide financial sponsorship, furnishing and/or some of the volunteers. As well, we need volunteers on our board and committees. Thank you for your kind interest in our project.
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Speaker’s Guidelines and Suggestions
See Chapter 1, Section “Responding to An Invitation to Speak” p. 15
Dear _______________________ ,
Thank-you for volunteering to speak on behalf of L‘Abri en Ville. It is important that you feel very free to be yourself and say what seems important to you when you speak of L‘Abri. The following then are only suggestions which we hope will be helpful – especially if this is a new experience for you.
Therefore use or disregard at your discretion.
1) Theme Suggestions
a) If you can find out the theme of the liturgy and tie it to L‘Abri this is helpful.
b) Current mental health issues, i.e.: Government
cutbacks Deinstitutionalization leading to
New prescription costs leading to stopping medication and re-hospitalization) c) Relating personal experiences with relatives or friends who may have mental illness. d) Experience of being a volunteer or a resident and what that means to me. Anything
personal the speaker wishes to share is always of interest.
e) Presenting objectives of L‘Abri.
2) You may wish to point out that a sense of community, connectedness, and belonging is the key to mental health for all of us. We all both give and receive by participating in L‘Abri. The parish community extends to the larger community.
3) Any of Jean Vanier‘s writings are excellent preparation and contain many wonderful thoughts and quotations.
4) Important to explain that mental illness is no one‘s fault – that its victims are people of great courage and determination. They can teach us all a lot about life.
5) Ask for what you need. Explain without volunteers none of this will happen. Any talents or time can be put to use.
6) Be specific about the kind of help needed, i.e. shopping, banking, or fun outings. 7) Mention that L‘Abri offers an information meeting and after that, several training sessions.
8) Mention other needs – good household furnishings, money, etc.
9) Ask people to fill out tear off portion of pamphlet and return it to a L‘Abri volunteer at the door of the
church or to the minister.
10) Mention what L‘Abri means to you.
Examples of Presentations to Faith Communities
See Chapter 1, Section “Responding to an Invitation to Speak” p. 15;
Chapter 5, Section “The Volunteers” p. 45
Introductory Presentation to a Faith Community The
Reconstructionist Synagogue - October 14, 2000
Good Morning, I‘m Eleanor Beattie, a member of the Unitarian Church of Montreal, a member of the Board of L‘Abri en Ville and a volunteer for one of the eight apartments, called Lafayette. I am accompanied by (name), a resident of L‘Abri for 7 years now, (name), an apartment volunteer and
Maureen Ramsay, one of the three coordinators of L‘Abri en Ville. I will begin by saying a few words to you this morning about the beginnings of L‘Abri en Ville, a project that offers supportive housing to
those with a mental illness, its philosophy and its needs as we move toward the opening of a ninth apartment.
L‘Abri en Ville was started by an organization of downtown faith communities concerned about social problems. These communities decided that, by coming together, they could find some solutions. The founding of L‘Abri en Ville was a response to the problem of the unstable lives of many of those with a mental illness who need active advocacy and support to overcome the debilitating consequences of their illnesses.
There is hardly one of us who has not been touched by mental illness in one way or another. For example, I have a nephew who suffers from schizophrenia, a bio-chemical disorder of the body that happens to affect the organ called the brain. For years he suffered from terrible and demeaning hallucinations. Medication has done a lot to alleviate his serious symptoms. Still, those with a mental illness suffer from isolation: this is the major side effect of the mental illness itself, of its treatment with powerful anti-hallucinatory drugs and of the shunning by society caused by the misconceptions about mental illness.
Let me tell you how L‘Abri en Ville operates before I tell you more about volunteering and our request to you. We now have eight apartments, scattered around the city, for three people each. Each three-bedroom apartment is rented by L‘Abri and furnished as beautifully as possible with the help of donations of furniture and money. Of course, since these are the permanent homes of the three residents, they often bring in their own furnishings.
The residents are supported in their efforts for stable living through our professional coordinators. The coordinators also meet monthly with the 5 to 7 volunteers for each apartment to plan various activities. For instance, I sometimes help the three men to clean their apartment and we go out to eat one or twice a month and recently we went to the Botanical Gardens. Other volunteers will help residents to budget their money, plan menus and shop, or to study for courses. Still other volunteers and residents will make and eat a shared meal, go to movies, museums or concerts. Others love to go swimming, take a drive in the country or have a walk and perhaps a cup of coffee in a café. In short, we offer the gift of time, a tremendous gift in our day.
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In each of these activities, the residents acquire life skills and the ability to cope; life is made easier for someone who has trouble doing ordinary tasks and activities. In turn, this leads to a more stable life and fewer crises. But consider as well, that the volunteer brings one person‘s presence to another person, a presence that includes the faith, the resources and support that the religious community offers to that volunteer and to the project. Volunteers thus help to create new communities with these formerly excluded people at the centre. We volunteers also learn and grow, form friendships and experience an enlarged connectedness.
(Presentations by accompanying residents and apartment volunteers)
To be more concrete, today we are here to ask you to consider becoming volunteers for our next apartment, scheduled to open this year. The coordinators are organizing three training sessions with professionals to familiarize volunteers with mental illness, and to discover their interests and the ways in which they can work with the residents and with one another. The first session is Tuesday, October 17th. If you are interested in putting your faith in action in this way, please see the material we have brought and please speak to us after the service.
Presentation at a Participating Faith Community St.
Ignatius of Loyola Parish - September 17, 1995.
How happy I am to be back at St. Ignatius, speaking to you again about the project, L‘Abri en Ville. Many of you
know the project, know that your church has co-sponsored the fourth apartment along with Montreal West United and Crawford Park/Verdun United Churches. Your sponsorship has taken the form of two generous financial contributions and a number of marvelous advocates and board members. We are grateful for all these blessings.
And now I‘m calling on you again to help open a fifth apartment for three new people with psychiatric
difficulties. Most of our now 12 residents have a serious illness called schizophrenia. All are under medical treatment to control their symptoms and all have social workers to help them with necessary bureaucratic arrangements. What L‘Abri en Ville offers is a support, a community, a friendship to people who through their
illness and the side effects of their medications, have lost a chunk of their lives, usually those early adult years when people normally learn how to socialize, how to make contacts, when they learn how to reach out and trust others.
Our residents have accepted their illnesses and strive to live full lives in spite of the difficulties. They are eager to learn the skills they lack such as cooking, cleaning and budgeting. They are eager to learn the pleasures of community. I have been an advocate in one of the men‘s apartments for three years. Two of the men came from a halfway house run by Douglas Hospital. They had a history of recurrent hospitalization, of falling into crises every few months, often forgetting to take their medication. Since coming to L‘Abri, neither of them has been
rehospitalized. Their medication is checked once a week by a professional coordinator; they trust and confide in their friends, the advocates. They enjoy each other and the social activities among all the residents. They are, as are those in the other apartments, at home.
L‘Abri offers permanent homes, permanent support and community. Advocates may change (although very few have retired from the project in the four years of existence). We are attached to our resident friends and to our L‘Abri community. Thus, the project offers the needed stability and security. I am asking you today to consider becoming an advocate. We need the gifts of your skills and interests, your faith, your warmth of community and your friendship. At the end of the service, a number of us will be at the back of the church, eager to talk to you.
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