Veteran social services Executive Director, Brian Lester, to bring enhanced model to important homelessness alleviation program
LONDON, ON – June 28, 2016 – In an effort to further strengthen the health and housing outcomes of individuals experiencing homelessness, London’s most successful homelessness reduction program has appointed Brian Lester as interim Managing Director.
The move is the result of a recent strategy for evolution from a shared collaborative governance structure from the original founding partners – Addiction Services Thames Valley, The Unity Project and the Regional HIV/AIDS Connection. Today, the partners announced a secondment agreement for Lester to provide full time oversight and leadership of London CAReS, stepping away temporarily from his role as RHAC Executive Director.
“By ensuring stability, dignity and safety for our community’s most at-risk citizens, London CAReS helps alleviate the strain on our local health and social services, and ultimately helps save lives,” says Lester. “This enhanced approach to governance and leadership is essential to ensuring that important work continues.”
Beginning as a pilot project in 2008, the five-year Housing First experiment came to an end in January 2014, when, due to the overwhelming success of the pilot, London City Council approved ongoing funding for London CAReS.
Today London CAReS has more than 40 staff leading street outreach and housing stability initiatives that operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in an approach that has ended homelessness for more than 145 people in London.
“We started as a pilot project nearly 10 years ago. We’re no longer a small program, we’re an organization and our governance and leadership models need to evolve to reflect our success and growth so we can continue to best serve our community’s most vulnerable,” added Lester.
Recent collaborative work on the CAReS governance, leadership and service delivery models has been supported by Dr. John Whitesell, an expert in organizational strategy and change, whose work is
recognized across North America and around the world. Dr. Whitesell also co-wrote the London Community Housing Strategy and Plan on Homelessness.
Lester’s appointment as interim Managing Director is effective July 4th.