Posted today on myKawartha.com:
By Lois Tuffin
The two worlds couldn't be further apart.
Mentally ill people living on the streets. The ultra wealthy on a manicured lawn, dropping $20 bills on raffle tickets then bidding thousands of dollars on auction items.
These two worlds crossed paths Saturday night as Farsad Kiani and Joan Bush opened their north-end property to 417 guests in hopes of raising $100,000 to support a program that supports street people with mental illness so they can move into stable housing and get help for their addictions and health problems. Mr. Kiani is president and CEO of Ensil International Corporation, an electronics engineering company whose Canadian head office is based in Markham.
He hosts fundraisers at his farm regularly, supporting the Alzheimer Society, Princess Margaret Hospital and other health-related charities. However, he turned his attention to the Peterborough branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) when he learned one of its vital programs was in jeopardy if not funded.
The Peterborough Homelessness Outreach and Support Project's two case workers, nurse practitioner, registered nurse and trustee work with clients to secure housing, basic health care, mental health and addictions services to break the cycle of repeated visits to the shelters. In the past year, it has served more than 200 clients and has moved 90 of them into proper homes.
The program was facing a $115,000 shortfall next year.
When Mr. Kiani learned about the gap, he decided to host a summer lawn party to bridge it.
"People on the streets would be on their own," he says. "That's not the kind of community we want to live in."
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