WHEN HE FIRST came to the Men’s Mission & Rehabilitation Centre on York Street almost seven years ago, Scott* said that he had nowhere else to go. “I didn’t feel that it was a place for me because I had worked and held jobs. In my mind, I had a pre-judged idea of people who came to the Mission, and it wasn’t me. I was in one spot and those guys were in another. But there I was.”
The Men’s Mission has 111 emergency shelter beds for homeless men age 16 years and over. In addition, the Roger Smith Wing is a residence with 35 private rooms for longer term transitional accommodation that is paid for by clients through their sources of income. Scott has been able to find stability at the Men’s Mission by staying in a private room, accessing support services and being part of the In-Shelter Work Program.
“I help with grounds keeping at the Men’s Mission. I used to like it, now I love it. I cut grass and do some extra duties; I’m happy to do them. I pick up garbage on all sides of the building two or three times a day. I don’t want anyone walking by to have to see garbage. I also shovel the walkways. I earn a stipend for my work, but it’s no longer just about the money. I take pride in it. I want to do the best job that I can. Our grounds are cleaner; I’ve played a part in that.”
All clients meet with an In-Shelter Case Worker; there are three on staff. They are there to provide support with what clients want to work on, and help link them with community resources and other services.
“I’ve had two Case Workers. They are both very knowledgeable. They make time for me, answer my questions, and remind me of my appointments.” Scott says this helps him stay on track. With assistance, he is looking into housing options outside of the Men’s Mission.
“Since I first came here, my perception has changed—a lot. It’s made a difference being here. I feel fortunate to have been helped by the Mission. Others have helped too, like the couple who brings sandwiches Monday nights. I understand better that I AM someone who can be here. I could be just about anyone.” His last comment about sharing his experience with others was, “I feel honoured to be able to.”