Staying at the Men’s Mission: Seeking an Open Door

Men’s Mission, located at 459 York Street, is one of Mission Services of London’s emergency shelters. Men’s Mission offers 76 emergency shelter beds to men experiencing homelessness, and there are 35 transitional beds in the Roger Smith Wing.

Upon arrival at the shelter, men will speak to a Resident Care Worker to see if there is an open bed. Each man is offered three nutritious meals per day, and other necessities, such as clothing and hygiene items.

In Search of My New Place:
During their stay, participants will frequently meet with their Case Worker. Case Workers are conscientious when earning the trust of the men, leading with the belief that each participant knows what is best for themselves. Case Workers walk alongside the participants, allowing the men to
guide how they need support.

Members of the Men’s Mission Kitchen Team (December, 2023) From Left to Right: Corey Carroll, Full-Time Cook; Danielle Rainville, Full-Time Cook’s Helper; Len Devost, Food Services Supervisor (Shelters); Chris St Laurent, Full-Time Cook; Zack Bourque, Full-Time Cook’s Helper

Early in a participant’s stay, his Case Worker will explore housing needs, preferences, and feasible options with him. Some options may include independent, affordable, or market-rate housing, living with roommates, moving in with family, live-in addiction treatment, long-term care homes, or palliative care homes.

Oftentimes, one of the first steps is applying for new identification documents. It can be difficult to
keep track of personal items while experiencing homelessness, like one’s birth certificate. Identification documents are needed for housing applications, banking, medical treatment, Driver’s License renewals and updates, accessing one’s social insurance number, and financial support applications.

Any of the participant’s medical needs are also prioritized by his Case Worker early on. Men’s Mission has a nursing station that is available to community healthcare partners. A Case Worker may invite a Personal Support Worker to come to the nursing station to provide care for a participant. The nursing station is used daily.

Support Network and Whole-Person Care:
If a participant is looking for a listening ear or someone to chat with, he can connect with any of the staff members at the Men’s Mission. Participants can form connections with the maintenance team, the cooks, the Resource Centre staff, the Resident Care Workers, the Chaplain, the Program Supervisor, and the Director of Shelters. The heart of Men’s Mission is to provide care for the men staying there.

Resident Care Workers (RCW) are the first faces participants see when they come through the doors and are on-site 24/7. They supply the men with emergency clothing, ensure they take their medications as prescribed, assist with meal lines, help men to access their belongings, and participate in recreational programming. RCWs are also trained to administer Naloxone and respond to crisis situations that can occur in shelters.

Mission Services of London’s trauma-informed Chaplain, Harry Soedarmasto, is also available to the participants at their request. Chapel services are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays and attendance is strictly voluntary. While the men are welcome to talk to the Chaplain regarding their spiritual needs, many participants reach out to Harry for a variety of other reasons, including processing grief and loss.

The men have access to weekly formal Narcotics Anonymous meetings. The meetings are held in the chapel and are open to anyone staying at the Men’s Mission.

Roger Smith Wing:
The Roger Smith Wing of Men’s Mission has 35 transitional beds. Residents of the Roger Smith Wing can stay 364 days, although the majority exit much sooner than that. They continue to have access to case worker support and very purposely move toward stable housing as quickly as possible. While in the Roger Smith Wing, men may enroll in school, reconnect with family, and/or secure a job to help a smooth transition back into the community.




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