Summary of L’Abri En Ville’s 2021 Annual Report
The highlight of 2021 was the celebration of our 30th Anniversary. A series of four webinars, designed to celebrate the occasion, connected and informed our community of progress and achievements over the years. The first webinar, “Finding a Home in the City”, was presented in April and explored the history and evolution of the organization. This was followed in May by “30 Years of Community Support: The Special Relationship between L’Abri Volunteers and Residents”. The third, “More Than Just Fundraising-Community Building through our Annual Citrus Sale” delved into its origins and progress over 22 years, The final webinar, “Communities – Stronger Together”, reviewed the dissemination of our housing model and the “sister” organizations making up our network. The 30th Anniversary was further strongly enhanced by the participation of volunteers, residents, and our “sister” organizations. A special edition of the “L’Abri Times” to celebrate the event was published in the spring and a commemorative coffee mugs sporting our 30th Anniversary logo was designed to honor the occasion.
The 2020 public health restrictions continued throughout 2021. By May, staff were gradually alternating between work from home, the office and in-person visits to the apartments, until September when this schedule evolved to in-person visits alternating every other week with virtual meetings and increased staff presence in the office.
Again, this year, L’Abri hosted four students from McGill’s School of Physical and Occupational Therapy from May to July. Leah Yrastorza-Daghman, a McGill School of Social Work student in her final year, completed her stage in April and was hired for ten weeks through the Canada Summer Jobs Program. In September two new students – Catalina Gonzales, a McGill School of Social Work student and Norah Ioannou, a student in her final year of Dawson College’s Social Services Program – began their field placements. In November, Cathy DeChambeau, a former coordinator, accepted a nine-week contract to support staff, as volunteer activities and visits had decreased.
At the beginning of the year, due to health and safety restrictions, many of our regular activities remained on hold. The coordinators took this opportunity to support volunteers in creating an array of virtual activities, ranging from storytelling to cooking classes, all on Zoom. By early summer, residents enjoyed several outings to the Museum of Fine Arts, a visit to the Botanical Gardens and an overnight trip to Ile St Bernard. Virtual passes facilitated attendance at the Au Contraire Film festival, and concerts with OSM and the Classical Orchestra of Montreal.
Our second virtual AGM was held on March 22nd via Zoom. The COVID-19 task force met regularly throughout the year to keep informed of public health and safety measures and to develop protocols for return to a safe office environment.