New leadership, policies and plan for successful housing first organization.
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.

For more information or to set up interviews please contact:
Brian Lester
519-434-1601
blester@hivaidsconnection.ca
About London Cares
London CAReS is part of a Housing First movement across Canada and around the world. CAReS offers the London community a 24/7 integrated continuum of services that strive to ensure many of London’s most vulnerable citizens experience the dignity, safety and pride associated with having a place to call home.
London CAReS delivers services from the philosophy that housing is a human right and must be available to all citizens without expectations of abstinence from substance use or other individual personal challenges. There is a growing body of evidence that illustrates the dignity of having a home is the first step toward improved quality of life and better health outcomes.
About Interim Managing Director, Brian Lester
Brian Lester has worked in the London not-for-profit sector for over 26 years and within leadership roles for over 22 years. He spent 15 years within the employment and training sector serving organization such as; Leads Employment Services, Community Living London and Goodwill Industries. Brian joined Regional HIV/AIDS Connection in October 2006 and assumed the Executive Director role in 2008. Under his leadership RHAC continues to be recognized as a highly performing AIDS Service Organization locally and across the province. During his time at RHAC Brian has lead the legal amalgamation with John Gordon Home, advocated for prosecutorial guidelines for the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure, championed London’s inclusion in the current supervision injection services feasibility study, advocated for increased harm reduction services, guided the launch of RHACs 2016 -18 strategic plan and, since its inception, has been a consistent contributing voice in the evolution of London CAReS. Brian is currently serving as the Co-Chair of London’s developing Community Drug and Alcohol Strategy.