Posted on behalf of all partners involved in the Drop-In Program.
Wednesday June 23, 2021/Belleville, Ontario. A daily drop-in program has been launched at Bridge Street United Church. The drop-in, which is open 8:30 am – 3:30 pm, 7 days a week, provides a safe place to visit during the day for those who are experiencing homelessness or financial challenges. The drop-in centre offers access to showers, laundry, phone, and WiFi. Harm reduction and outreach public health nursing services are also provided on-site, as well as a daily hot lunch and snacks.
The drop-in is operated by the John Howard Society in partnership with Bridge Street United Church, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health and Grace Inn Shelter. Funding is provided by Hastings County Community and Human Services, with additional support from the City of Belleville social infrastructure fund.
The daytime drop-in is an expansion of a drop-in and shower program that has been provided by the John Howard Society since December 2020 at 21 Wallbridge Cres. Relocating the program to Bridge Street Church has provided more space and allows for extended hours of operation.
Renovations to Bridge Street Church’s facility have made it possible for the Church to host the drop-in. These renovations include upgraded ventilation in the gymnasium and installation of showers and laundry and were generously supported by the John W. and Bernice Parrott Foundation. “These upgrades make the facility suitable for a drop-in while maintaining high standards for health and safety that are particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Rev. G. David King, Lead Minister at Bridge Street United Church. “We are grateful for the Parrott Foundation’s contribution to the renovations that will help us meet these needs in our community, and the ongoing partnership of community agencies to support the delivery of the drop-in program.”
“Finding places to go during the day and meeting basic needs has been particularly difficult during the pandemic for those experiencing homelessness,” says Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at HPEPH. “We are grateful for the ongoing collaboration of community partners as we work together to ensure our pandemic response addresses the unique needs of those who are unhoused, underhoused, or experiencing financial challenges.”
Drop-in programs are one component of community efforts to support the immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness. Community partners involved in this drop-in project are committed to working together with the broader community to prevent and reduce homelessness in Belleville and for building a more equitable community where every Belleville resident is adequately housed.
Debbie Woods – Executive Director, John Howard Society of Belleville & District
Steve Van de Hoef – Program Manager, Bridge Street United Church