Homeless find shelter in MCC building

January 29, 2020 | News | Volume 24 Issue 3
Amy Rinner Waddell | B.C. Correspondent
Frigid, snowy days don’t occur often in B.C.’s Fraser Valley but, when they do, some homeless seniors have at least one warm place to spend the night. MCC B.C.’s Material Aid warehouse provides temporary sleeping space for street people, operated by a local ministry. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

By day, the material aid warehouse at Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) B.C.’s headquarters is used to store and process items such as school kits and blankets to be shipped overseas. But, in the colder fall and winter months, by night the space is converted into an extreme weather shelter hosting the city’s most vulnerable.

The shelter is operated by 5 & 2 Ministries, with MCC B.C. providing the space. It runs nightly from 7:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. from October to March, providing accommodation for 20 adults aged 50 and older. 

Some guests are referred from other community organizations, but as MCC B.C. is conveniently located on Abbotsford’s Gladys Corridor, an area populated by the “street-entrenched,” word about the shelter gets out.

“Shelter guests are provided with a light supper—soup, fruit, etc.—and access to washrooms,” says Sue Kupp, interim program director for MCC B.C. “5&2 Ministries funds the shelter through B.C. Housing and hires staff who are on disability and unable to steadily work, providing them with extra income.” 

A shelter such as this benefits the larger community as well as the individuals.

Kupp reports that “5&2 has many stories of guests who have been supported back into housing, have found work, etc. The City of Abbotsford also has statistics regarding money saved from emergency room visits and hospital stays since the community shelter/extreme weather shelter system has been implemented.” 

Do you have a story idea about Mennonites in B.C.? Send it to Amy Rinner Waddell at bc@canadianmennonite.org.

Related stories:
'A bigger impact in the neighbourhood'
Watch: MCEC church helps Montreal's homeless

Frigid, snowy days don’t occur often in B.C.’s Fraser Valley but, when they do, some homeless seniors have at least one warm place to spend the night. MCC B.C.’s Material Aid warehouse provides temporary sleeping space for street people, operated by a local ministry. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

Share this page:

Add new comment

Canadian Mennonite invites comments and encourages constructive discussion about our content. Actual full names (first and last) are required. Comments are moderated and may be edited. They will not appear online until approved and will be posted during business hours. Some comments may be reproduced in print.