Expansion of Programs and Services at the Gathering Place in 2013

July 31, 2017

 Today co-chairs of the Board of The Gathering Place and a group of dedicated volunteers introduced a special project to enhance and expand much-needed programs and services to help ever increasing numbers of people with complex physical, mental or social difficulties. Intended to be ready late in 2013, the Gathering Place at 172 Military Road will serve more people with improved meal service, health, social and learning programs, in spaces that are accessible and safer.

The Gathering Place

Originally established in 1994 by the Sisters of Mercy and the Presentation Sisters in response to the needs of those seeking food, The Gathering Place receives widespread support within the community.  Many service organizations, church groups, foundations, corporations and individuals make financial and in kind donations towards the operation of Gathering Place. The Gathering Place is a registered charity and is managed by a Board of Directors with members from the founding organizations and members from the community at large. The programs and services are offered through a volunteer-driven operation of more than 150 people committed to ensuring that programs and services are available on a consistent basis.

In recent years, programs and services have been added to address the needs of guests. These include foot care, a clothing supply boutique and hair care service.  In addition, through collaboration with other agencies, guests of Gathering Place have access to housing experts, nurses and social workers who help address complex needs.  Guests may avail of other services to include advocacy, literacy and computer programs.

Through the guidance provided by a consultation process, the Board has made plans to enhance and expand programs and services. The Gathering Place of the future will better meet the needs of people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless, promote equality and provide nourishment for those seeking respite from isolation and loneliness. Plans for broadening the programs and services include:

  • Increasing space for noon meal and breakfast programs
  • Providing an identification clinic for Guests (many people are transient and don’t have adequate identification and need to have a place to secure their documents)
  • Establishing a message centre or post office boxes
  • Making the facility accessible to those with disabilities
  • Adding laundry service areas
  • Facilitating a home-start kit program
  • Designating specific spaces for women and seniors
  • Allocating adequate space for creative pursuits
  • Providing facilities for showering
  • Providing education and training in health and wellness, literacy, computer skills and social development