(Moncton, N.B. – April 19, 2018) YMCA of Greater Moncton’s ReConnect Street Intervention Program is struggling to find a new home.
“It’s extremely frustrating,” says Lisa Ryan, interim director of the YMCA’s ReConnect program. “Many landlords want to help but are concerned about potential backlash from existing tenants because of our clientele. We’re still hoping to find a location that’s the right fit, especially since homelessness is a growing issue in Moncton and our services are needed more than ever.”
The YMCA has operated the ReConnect program since 2001, including for the past three years from a building located behind the Canada Post office at 281 St. George Street. The Y learned March 22 that the building’s owner was terminating their lease early, on May 31 instead of at the end of 2018.
Two weeks ago, YMCA ReConnect staff began hunting for a new, smaller location. The pending move has given the Y a chance to re-examine the program, resulting in a decision to focus more on outreach services and no longer offer a drop-in, says Ryan. (The final drop-in will take place April 30 from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. with outreach continuing.)
“Other organizations offer drop-in so our work will now centre on giving immediate support to youth, adults and seniors who are homeless or at risk of being homeless,” she says. “We’ll also continue to connect individuals in need to community and/or government resources in the areas of housing, education, employment and counselling.”
YMCA ReConnect is hoping to find a small office space (300 to 500 square feet) in the downtown core, ideally with a single entrance. In addition to Ryan, two part-time Street Intervention Program workers staff ReConnect and visit thousands of clients annually.
As a result of the move, ReConnect will have limited storage capacity and no longer accept some items previously collected, such as clothing and household goods, says Ryan.
“Donations of those items can now be made at the Salvation Army, 1185 Mountain Road, Moncton, or the St. Vincent de Paul Society, 340 Dominion Street, Moncton,” she says.
YMCA ReConnect welcomes donations of the some items for use in hygiene kits that ReConnect outreach staff can distribute as needed. The following can be dropped off at the YMCA of Greater Moncton, 30 War Veterans Avenue, Moncton:
- Underwear (men and women)
- Soap / bodywash
- Shaving cream
- Plastic or paper bags to package kits
As well, ReConnect welcomes donations of the following for use in ‘conversation starter’ kits that staff can distribute when visiting individuals sleeping in tents or unsafe areas:
- Granola bars
- Trail mix / nuts
- Canned meat
- Hearty soups
- Toilet paper
- Gift cards from Tim Hortons ($5-$10)
- Gift cards to McDonalds ($5-10)
Other items accepted include gift cards to store such as Superstore, Sobeys and Wal-Mart where ReConnect staff can purchase supplies for kits mentioned above. As with the other donations, these items can be dropped off at the YMCA.
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. The YMCA of Greater Moncton, the City of Moncton, the New Brunswick Department of Social Development and Downtown Moncton Centreville Inc. fund the Y’s ReConnect program.