(Moncton – May 14, 2018) When staff at the YMCA of Greater Moncton’s ReConnect Street Intervention Program initially learned the program would lose its home at the end of this month, things looked bleak.

But a decision to change the way the program will be run has staff more upbeat about the future, specifically about how they can help those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.

“Until now, we offered both outreach services and a drop-in service,” says Lisa Ryan, interim director of the YMCA’s ReConnect program. “We took some time to examine what we do really well and realized outreach had the most impact. After reaching that conclusion, and because we no longer have space for a drop-in, we have opted not only to continue our outreach services but to increase them.”

The YMCA has operated the ReConnect program since 2001, including for the past three years from a building located behind the Canada Post office on St. George Street. The Y learned March 22 that the building’s owner would terminate their lease early, on May 31 instead of at the end of 2018.

After a comprehensive search for a new location, ReConnect was unable to find a suitable home in the downtown core. That led to an examination of the program’s model and the decision to discontinue drop-in services while increasing outreach services, says Ryan.

“We truly feel we will have the most impact on those who need our help by moving in this direction,” she says, noting that ReConnect’s administrative base will now be at the YMCA on War Veterans Avenue.

The ReConnect Street Intervention Program is one of many community initiatives delivered by the YMCA of Greater Moncton, a registered charitable organization dedicated to building healthy communities. When the YMCA established ReConnect in collaboration with community partners, the program was developed to do more than just meet the short-term, ‘hand-out’ needs of those on the street, needs such as food or shelter. It was also designed to make a difference in the longer term, by helping individuals connect with the appropriate community resources thereby giving those individuals a supportive ‘hand up’ to potentially improve their lives.

Financial donations to ReConnect are gratefully accepted and allow the YMCA of Greater Moncton to invest in resources needed most. Other donations are also accepted, such as hygiene products (shampoo, soap, deodorant, shaving items and toothpaste), food products (granola bars, trail mix, canned meat, soup and toilet paper) as well as socks and underwear.

YMCA ReConnect is staffed by a qualified, full-time Program Director and two trained, part-time Street Intervention Program workers. ReConnect works with the SUN program, which includes two Housing Support Workers who work to connect clients to stable housing and appropriate services.

The ReConnect program is funded by the YMCA of Greater Moncton, the City of Moncton, the New Brunswick Department of Social Development and Downtown Moncton Centreville Inc.

IN 2017:   ReConnect staff conducted 2,416 street level interventions, a 50% increase from 2016.