Funding top priority for new head of Thunder Bay Shelter House
The new executive director of Shelter House in Thunder Bay, Ont. is making funding, and client engagement top priorities, as he settles into his new role.
Gary Mack comes to the job with over two decades of experience in social work in Thunder Bay, including in the field of mental health and addiction. His most recent role was at Elevate NWO, working with clients with HIV and hepatitus C.
Mack said the opportunity to take the helm at Shelter House seemed like a natural next step.
"I am really honoured and thrilled to be here," he said.
"I've been a front line worker, working one-on-one with people for probably 20 years, and it is a passion of mine. I love the people and I love being able to help people to move forward and to make positive changes in their life."
Shelter House should continue to be a place that offers not only food and shelter, but also support and healing, he said.
Financial challenges top of mind
Mack said the most pressing challenge facing him in his new role will be the shelter's financial challenges, and the need to secure stable core funding.
The organization recently approached the city for help with a funding shortfall.
Another concern is the lack of transitional, and affordable housing for people in the community, he said.
Mack started his new job on March 1, and said he is spending his first days becoming better acquainted with the organization, it's staff, volunteers and clients. Involving clients in decision-making will be an important focus, he added.
"Our clients are our best experts on what they need, and what will support them," he said.
Shelter House has been without a permanent executive director since Patty Hajdu left the position last year, after being elected as a member of Parliament.