Windsor, Ont. –
The Downtown Mission is asking for community support as increasing homelessness leads to greater demand for services.
The Downtown Mission has 80 beds for men, women and youth who don’t have a safe place to sleep at night. This is a reduction in the mission’s capacity of 103 beds due to security requirements related to COVID.
The mission says it relies on donations from individuals, businesses, unions, religious communities, foundations and civic organizations to fund its programs and services.
“The Christmas season is traditionally a time when many members of our community make a charitable contribution to a cause that touches them, and they believe in it. The Downtown Mission is helping hurt people who have no other way to support. A donation to the Mission can literally save a life, ”said Rukshini Ponniah-Goulin, Acting Executive Director.
A small percentage of its operating funds come from a handful of funders who continue specific programs like the Mission’s Enterprise Program (City of Windsor) and the Phoenix Recovery Program (Erie St. Clair LHIN). The federal government’s COVID-Relief funds for shelters also helped provide the additional space and personnel needed to manage a second floor in the mission shelter.
The mission says these funds will end on March 31, 2022, which could lead to a disruption in service and leave around 40 people with no place to go.
The Downtown Mission shelter has been operating at full capacity every night for the past few weeks. Those looking for a bed for the night start lining up at 5 p.m., even though admission begins at 8 p.m.
This year, members of the technical assistance team responded to 115 drug overdose emergencies. The Housing First program helped 83 people find new housing. The food bank helped feed 13,484 people and 6,831 households.
The mission’s board said it is committed to undertaking a review of the organization’s current programs and services to align these growing demands with the needs of homeless people, as the community emerges from the COVID pandemic. This review is scheduled to begin in June 2022.
“We are very concerned about these alarming trends,” said mission board chairperson Michele MacGregor. “The need and demand for our services is at an all time high, but unfortunately our community giving is not keeping pace with the increased needs facing the Mission this year. “
Donations can be made online through the Downtown Mission website, click on the Make a donation icon today, by mail or in person at their branch at 664 Victoria Avenue.