For those living in the rural or remote northern communities, access to necessary medical treatments can mean travelling hundreds of kilometers from home for both the patient and their loved ones. Due to this distance, those accompanying the patient are required to find accommodations in the area. Depending on the illness/injury, they may need to stay for weeks or even months. At the rate of a normal hotel, prolonged stays can cause significant financial burden or force loved ones to return home, leaving patients to face treatment and/or recovery alone.
Kinsmen/Kinette/Kin clubs have a legacy of seeing the needs within their community and doing whatever it takes to meet those needs. 35 years ago, the Kinsmen Club of Sudbury did just that. In 1983, the Kinsmen created the Sudbury Kinsmen Family Foundation to fundraise throughout the community for people in need. In the fall of that year, Chris Sheridan and the Kinsmen Club of Sudbury partnered with the local hotel/motel associations and developed a program that provided hotel rooms at a substantially lower cost to qualified applicants. In the first year, the Kinsmen Club assisted 120 families and over 280 families the following year.
In 1986, the club turned the program over to an independent Board of Directors selected from the community. During the next decade the program assisted more than 5000 people annually.
In 1997, the Board purchased an existing hotel, the Grand Prix Inn, which was located within minutes of the hospital and cancer research centre. The name was changed to the House of / Maison de Kin to reflect “the true expression of family, and people who care and support one another”.[i] The house serves both the family members of patients and out-patients who need to stay near the hospital during recovery.
The House of Kin has a number of features to provide a “home away from home” feel. They include areas where guests can store food and prepare their own meals, a comfortable lounge equipped with a TV and DVD player, a quiet room, an in-house guest laundry facility, and variety of rooms that accommodate guests of all family sizes. The facility is also within walking distance of grocery stores, pharmacies and shopping areas, making it easy for guests to access needed items.
An additional unique feature of the House of Kin is that guests are able to socialize in the common areas with other guests who are going through similar challenges. This can be helpful to those staying at the home as they can find and offer support to the other residents.
“It was wonderful to be able to have such a clean and comfortable place to stay at such a stressful time. It brought a bit of peace and comfort when everything else was so disordered. I was alone in Sudbury while my husband was undergoing heart surgery and it helped not to worry about where I would stay and also not to worry about the cost being incurred being unmanageable. Thank you very much for providing this wonderful place.” Jill Steele – Bonfield, ON ii
Since its inception, the House of Kin has helped over 300,000 people. It has allowed families to stay together in a comfortable and supportive environement during stressful times and is a great example of what can be achieved when a group of people work together to serve their community's greatest need.
To learn more about the House of Kin, their upcoming events, and how you can get involved visit http://www.houseofkinsudbury.ca/.
To find out more about how you can serve your community's greatest need through a Kinsmen/Kinette/Kin club go to https://www.kincanada.ca/get-involved.
i Sudbury Kinsmen Family Centre Foundation (2016). History of the House of Kin. Retrieved from http://www.houseofkinsudbury.ca/history
ii Steele, J. (2007, November). House of Kin – Celebrating 10 Years of Serving the North With Compassion. South Side Story, p. 6.