ONEchurch Update in Brantford Homeless Shelter Involvement

I am writing this update to bring you up to speed on what we know regarding the immediate homelessness crisis and how ONEchurch plans to proceed to help the city with the new homeless shelter.

The new shelter, dubbed “Winter Warmth”, is located at 180 Greenwich Street in the former police station.
Summary: Our goal is to have dedicated teams serving at the new shelter from 8-11 p.m. 7 days a week.  More commitments are needed.  Volunteers require a police check and training.  Read more below.
Monday, December 2, ONEchurch held another meeting to discuss how we could help at the shelter. About 30 people, representing numerous churches and ministries, were there. Others informed us of their willingness to be involved, but had a conflict with the timing of the meeting. At this meeting we presented the need again and requested teams to take designated evening shifts at the shelter.
Ultimately, our goal is to have teams from various churches and ministries that would be willing to be committed to a weekly evening shift in an ongoing basis (probably from 8 – 11pm).

Each team will have their own point person that their team responds to and there will be a contact person from ONEchurch that will communicate with those running the shelter – presently Susan Zuidema

IMPORTANT NOTE: Each member of the team will need to have a police check (individual responsibility) and proper training before they can take a shift at the shelter. The Salvation Army can host a training session for 5-15 people next Tuesday (Dec 10) at 6:30pm. We need to confirm that we have enough people by Monday. The next opportunity for training would probably be the following week.

As we have discussed all along this process, much of what is happening is changing daily, so we don’t have all the answers. However, as we remain engaged and flexible, we will be able to continue to serve God and others well. 

You have probably heard by now that the “Brantford Police Services executed a trespassing order issued by the owner of the private property adjacent to Shallow Creek Park. Individuals who were occupying the encampment over the last several months were provided ample warning that the order would be executed” (read full report below). Many caring Christians were also at the evacuation, which was a compassionate “hand of friendship and care”. This hand of friendship has been the banner under which we have been invited into this crisis, and as we consistently do this well, the Lord will be honoured. 

At one of our recent meetings, Bruce Mann made the following statement from his experience with the former “Out of the Cold” program, which I believe is worth repeating and remembering: 

 “It’s not necessarily just a warm place that is being offered, but how we are treating those who come, while they are there, that is most important.”

 I want to thank everyone for their quick and compassionate response to the city’s request for assistance with the homeless crisis. The response from the city-wide church has been remarkable and we have heard from many in the city of how thankful they are. Be assured that we are in dialogue about medium and long range solutions as well, but we will take these discussions one day at a time.

Brian Beattie
CHAIR – ONEchurch

City of Brantford Media Release