Sunday, April 25, 2010

Poverty in your Backyard

Home Safe Toronto. A documentary film by Laura Sky. Sunday April 25 at 7pm at St Stephen's on the Hill United Church in Mississauga

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fantastic news from the Wesley Centre

For some time now, Wesley Centre and other emergency shelter providers in Hamilton have been working on transforming the way we work with homeless men and women. The results of a number of years of work have been dramatic. More individuals are being housed and staying housed. As a result, shelter numbers have been dropping consistently for the last few years. This work is part of an initiative we are calling the “Shelter Blueprint”.

One of the resulting changes from the implementation of the Shelter Blueprint is that Wesley Centre will become a day-time drop-in only as of August 1st, 2010. That means Wesley Centre will no longer provide emergency overnight shelter which we have been doing since 1991.

This is a fantastic news story. Not just for Wesley Centre, but for the shelter system as a whole. Over the last five years, fewer and fewer people are accessing emergency shelters and the reduction in the demand for shelter beds is indeed cause for celebration. By implementing innovative and effective housing programs with critical support systems, we are achieving a decrease in the quantity of individuals requiring emergency shelter. This means there are more shelter users becoming housed and less homeless people on the streets and seeking safe refuge.

While change is never easy, this is a really good news story. Social service organizations often talk about “putting themselves out of business”. Well, in a small way we are doing that. This move towards a more justice based approach is one that feels really good – despite the very real pain of the transition we are entering into with our staff, clients and volunteers.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

MACCWT committee proposal vote

The MACCWT Board did NOT make a decision on our Home Suite Hope proposal as there were insufficent members present and they were not familiar with the proposal. many of the same questions were asked which is frustrating. One encouraging outcome was that the board members who were aware of the proposal and had given is thought were generally supportive. Those who were hearing it for the first time were frightened of it. Consequently, my choice was to move that the proposal be tabled once again and that a special meeting be called to discuss this proposal alone, and that is what happened. The special meeting idea was popular and it was agreed that each church should bring people to this meeting who were interested -- some of the reps were quite supportive and had ideas for people who might be interested in getting involved. This special meeting will be planned for 2 hours, with the first hour open and guests. The second hour would be closed and involve only the MACCWT board. That way, we can have a vote on the proposal immediately with the same people who have heard the information. The special meeting date has been set for Thursday, May 6 -- location TBA but I'm going to see if there is space at St. Paul's. It will be necessary to put together a package of information that includes our original proposal, the chronology of our journey so far with this, and a summary of what is being asked of the MACCWT, and hopefully a projection of how we see this developing over the next few years. We have most of this information gathered already. We'll send this info package out in advance of the May 6 meeting, which will hopefully allow us to summarize the proposed project in 30 minutes and then field questions for 30 mintues before we move on the the voting part.