Canada Life building on Dufferin Ave., London. (File photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)Canada Life building on Dufferin Ave., London. (File photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

London's homelessness fund gets $500K boost from Canada Life

An insurance and wealth management company with strong ties to London is putting half a million dollars into a city fund that aims to address homelessness.

Canada Life announced on Monday it is donating $500,000 to the Health and Homelessness Fund for Change. The insurance giant is kicking in the cash in honour of its former president Jeff Macoun.

Macoun is retiring from Canada Life after more than 40 years with the company. He also co-chairs the Fund for Change.

"The Fund for Change is an incredibly important initiative for London that we’re pleased to support,” said Paul Mahon, President and Chief Executive Officer of Canada Life parent company Great-West Lifeco. “Jeff’s commitment to the community has been a cornerstone of his personal values and a hallmark of his leadership at Canada Life. With his upcoming retirement, there is no more fitting tribute to his legacy than an investment in a community initiative that he is passionately championing.”

Macoun, and the other members of the volunteer fundraising committee, are working to raise $5-million that will be matched by the anonymous donor, who has already committed $25-million toward the fund. The money will be used to bankroll the city's Health and Homelessness system response, a groundbreaking approach to tackling homelessness that was developed in consultation with more than 200 individuals from nearly 70 organizations. The plan includes the creation of 10 to 15 homeless hubs that offer shelter, transitional beds, access to support services and health care, as well as 600 highly supportive housing units.

The Fund for Change has to-date raised $4.1-million through the London Community Foundation.

"London Community Foundation is honoured to accept this generous contribution to the Health and Homelessness Fund for Change in recognition of Jeff Macoun's tremendous tenure at Canada Life," said Diane Silva, the foundation's director of philanthropy. "Jeff selflessly stepped in at a critical time in our fundraising and rallied Londoners from all walks of life to support the vital cause of ending the health and homelessness crisis."

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