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How Coldest Night of the Year funds are spent

Money raised goes to the Ready for Home program
Nelson CARES property manager Joanne Motta and Ready for Home housing support worker Noa Dagan serve a meal at Ward Street Place. Photo: Submitted

Submitted by Nelson CARES

On Saturday, Feb. 24, the Nelson CARES Society is hosting its Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) fundraising event. This event will see numerous participants braving the cold, dark streets of Nelson in a walk. These walkers will have reached out to their friends, family, and colleagues for donations in support of their efforts.

The funds raised through Coldest Night of the Year stay local and support the Ready for Home program, which operates out of Ward Street Place.

Nelson CARES is committed to providing safe, affordable housing. This includes people leaving homelessness and those who have difficulty maintaining their housing due to multiple reasons, such as chronic illness and/or substance use. Sometimes, people need support to maintain their housing, and Nelson CARES has created a program to do just that; it is called Ready for Home. This program employs skilled housing support staff who work directly with the Ward Street Place residents.

This program provides transitional and stabilization support, including setting up appointments, providing referrals, establishing a sense of belonging and community, and supporting individuals with physical, emotional, and mental health challenges. The housing support staff works closely with the 40 residents of Ward Street Place to ensure they remain safely housed. The data shows conclusively that if we can support people to stay housed for a period of two years, re-entry into homelessness is significantly diminished and health outcomes are dramatically improved.

Many of the residents have been in the building for over 15 years. Mo, who has called Ward Street Place home for 28 years, shares, “If I wasn’t at Ward Street Place, there is a good chance I would be on the streets.”

The goal of the Ready for Home program is to stop the cycle of homelessness and work one-to-one with individuals to maintain their stable, affordable housing. The program hosts community meals twice a month, where the residents come and chat with their neighbours over a home-cooked warm meal. This fosters a sense of connection among tenants within the building, as well as subsidizes their meal budgets.

In addition, there are also arts, music, and games programming and in the summer, the BBQ is in frequent use in the open-air yard that also contains a community garden that the residents all help with and benefit from with access to fresh veggies and herbs! The comfort, stability, and neighbourly support that is offered by the housing support staff and the Ready for Home program is vital to their well-being and stability.

“Over the past year in this role, I have had the pleasure of supporting and building relationships with the diverse and unique community here at Ward Street Place,” says Ward Street Place housing support worker Noa Dagan.

“With the help of the generous Coldest Night fundraisers, we have hosted countless meals and events, fostering a strong sense of community in collaboration with our tenants. In this challenging economic climate, it is especially crucial to offer support in navigating social systems, and I am honoured to be able to serve as an advocate for our clients in these spaces. ”

Nelson CARES supports this program through the annual fundraising event Coldest Night of the Year.

If you or your business is curious about the event, please reach out to or head to to sign up.