Some time ago, we learned that our weekly drop in program would be interrupted for a period of three to six months while a construction renovation occurred at our current downtown location.
Just two weeks ago, Jelica (OIM’s managing director) informed me that the scheduling for the renovation was imminent. We would have just three weeks to find a new location, go through the necessary steps with our new ‘landlord’ (which might take several weeks or even months to get approvals), move our supplies, inform our street friends, set up and continue to provide needed services.
There were some specific caveats involved that severely restricted our options: we needed a downtown location, a place which could accommodate a minimum of 120 people (and up), a serviceable kitchen, a large space for eating our community meal as well as additional spaces for foot care, touch care, hair care, chiropractic care, and clothing distribution. We needed a space that would allow all these services to be a part of the larger group, and at the same time, is separate enough for individual care.
In a perfect world, we would also like to be in a pleasant venue with natural light, clean and modern washrooms, and maybe even a garden. We were looking for a world class venue that would suite the people that we are working with. Someone said, ‘Put a person in a prison like environment and they’ll act like a prisoner. Put a person in a world class venue and they’ll act like a world class citizen’.
This is not a simple list of items, but it is what we need. These are the needs of our operation, and became the criteria around which we directed our search.
The day after the news of our immediate need, I gathered staff for prayer and waiting on God. We met that morning, again that afternoon, and the next morning. We didn’t need ‘a space’; we needed the ‘right space’, and so made inquiry of the Lord.
Good news! In less than one week we had an offer of ‘the perfect space’ for our needs!
Dominion Chalmers United Church has very graciously opened her doors to host our drop in until the renovation is complete – mid July! In every sense, it is the perfect space!
Woodside Hall is where we have hosted our annual community dinners and accommodate 160-200 guests; there is ample room for services, with our volunteers having their ‘own space’ and feeling like they are a part of the larger drop in at the same time; we have access to D.C.’s private garden which Is accessed directly through Woodside Hall; the kitchen is perfect for our needs, and there is parking! In every respect, this is a perfect fit for our present needs.
In less than one week from the time of the announcement of the imminent need to relocate, it was all looked after. Thanks be to God (and thank you Dominion Chalmers)!
You can check out photos on their website: http://www.dc-church.org/