Big Ideas: $100,000


Imagine a community where business, local government, not-for profits and people experiencing homeless come together to create positive change for everyone. Inn From the Cold (IFTC) is proposing a project that would do just that. The INN Team is a project born out of a strategic planning process, and research on best practice, to improve outcomes for men and women experiencing homelessness, while simultaneously improving the broader community. IFTC is a vibrant not-for-profit, charitable organization with a strong and committed community of volunteers. IFTC is located in the Town of Newmarket, a community which lives up to the Oxford Dictionary’s definition of community, “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.”

But Newmarket can be better. Newmarket and IFTC are well positioned to demonstrate how weaving a community’s most vulnerable into the fabric of the community creates momentum and a stronger, more supportive community. IFTC is eager to establish the INN Team, an idea that will forge new relationships, build rapport amongst diverse members of the community and lead to greater understanding and inclusivity.

The INN Team will bridge gaps that exist in Newmarket for those who seek access and a sense of belonging to this wonderful community. Increasing poverty and homelessness are two issues that make full participation difficult. Stigmatization, a lack of opportunity and understanding, and low-income, have created a schism between two realities.

It is well documented that participation in community helps to move people out of homelessness (Homelessness: Closing the Gap between Capacity and Performance, 2012). Solving homelessness doesn't just mean finding someone a physical home. A program in New Haven, Connecticut, has focused on helping people see themselves as members of their communities—as citizens, with tremendous, unexpected spin-off effects that have made the entire community stronger (

The Inn Team will address employment, income, and self-esteem to bring about fuller participation. The community will become more inclusive, fostering connections between people experiencing homelessness, the business community, the Town of Newmarket and the general population.

The INN Team will boost employability, provide work experience and training, increase income, self-esteem, and confidence, and it will change the narrative surrounding homelessness. The INN Team will consist of 10 people experiencing homelessness who want to get ahead, but need a hand up. They will work on community beautification projects three mornings/week, assisting local businesses, the Town of Newmarket and vulnerable seniors/residents with snow shovelling, gardening, and litter pick-up. Many businesses on Newmarket’s award winning Main Street have already expressed support for the project, as has the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Newmarket. We will work with four teams/year (for a total of 40 individuals), while helping countless members of the community.

By wearing INN Team safety vests, the team will be clearly visible, and will be seen doing much needed and appreciated work, changing people’s opinions about homelessness, reducing stigmatization, and fostering connections across the community. INN Team members will also be provided with all work related gear, training opportunities including Smart Serve, WHMIS, Food Handlers, soft-skills training, resume writing, job search and interview support, transit fair and coupons for personal grooming needs.

The Aviva Community Fund will be instrumental in getting this program off the ground. INN Team members will be hired to do this work; and a crew lead, and coordinator will make connections in the community and support INN Team members on their journeys’ to getting ahead. The INN Team will be a catalyst for positive change. Help us make the community better – together.

Broker supported

Inn From the Cold

Location: Newmarket