Another lockdown, emergency orders and record number of cases in Ontario have meant many closures once again. Luckily, thanks to donors like you, this lockdown has not changed Mission Services’ ability to help our neighbours. With Plexiglass partitions, plenty of PPE, increased staffing and some rearranging, we have been able to maintain our level of service, just with some new approaches.
The Addictions Services team continues to provide all of the services that had been offered in person, just modified. In fact, many positives have been reported about running the programs by phone and virtually. Distance and transportation are no longer a barrier for those wanting to access our programs and flexible appointments provide more opportunities to work around client schedules. Many clients have also identified that they feel by offering our program one-to-one, rather than in a group setting, we’re able to customize the program to their individual needs.
Willow’s Place has been able to connect, advocate and focus their time on the unhoused women who access our space. We have worked more collaboratively with other Hamilton-based agencies and the pandemic has highlighted the need for supports for unhoused women. In addition to the shelter on James Street, our Men’s Services team has also been running a 100-bed shelter at a Hamilton hotel – now the largest shelter in the city.
Cold weather and pandemic restrictions highlight the need to find solutions to homelessness in our city. At our Men’s Shelter we have implemented and demonstrated the effectiveness of a housing-focused sheltering model and now our efforts are being recognized! In early February, Shawn MacKeigan, our Director of Men’s Services, spoke as an expert on housing-focused shelters – along with Calgary Drop-in and Montreal’s Old Brewery Mission – at a virtual conference hosted by the Canadian Shelter Transformation Network. We’re very proud of our Men’s Services team for being leaders in homelessness sheltering services in Canada.
To read our full Winter 2021 newsletter, click here.