The Brunswick Street Mission aims primarily to address concerns related to poverty and homelessness. We believe the Mission provides a unique opportunity to the community we serve; a place to find help when you need it, a place to offer help for others.
Breakfast Program, Food Bank, Clothing Bank, Benevolent Program, Trustee Program, Tax Return Program, Christmas Programs
In HRM, a number of organizations provide a continuum of shelter and meal services for persons who are homeless or vulnerable to homelessness. Brunswick Street Mission’s role is to serve breakfast 6 days a week.
Visitors to the breakfast program struggle with poverty and includes persons who are temporarily homeless as a result of a crisis (i.e. family breakdown), the hard-to-house, those who struggle with chronic addiction or mental illness, and many who are housed but struggling to make ends meet.
In serving breakfast, we also have the opportunity to establish relationships and provide bridges to other supports and programs that help a person transition to housing and self sufficiency. Pastoral care and health care services often operate through this site as well.
Each year, we serve approximately 15-20,000 warm and nourishing breakfasts.
Food and Clothing Banks:
Many Nova Scotian’s live below the level of income that insures decent housing and nutritious food. Social assistance rates and minimum wage are barely adequate, and access to every day necessities are a struggle.
The Brunswick Street Mission hosts both a food and a clothing bank to help individuals and families to make ends meet. Because poverty is a chronic condition for many people, the volunteers in these services often develop relationships that go beyond merely providing a service; for example we can put aside a cake and a donated doll for an upcoming birthday, or some treats for the dad who only has custody of his children once a month.
Benevolent Program - Crisis and Special Needs Financial Support:
As poverty is often chronic, it doesn’t take much for a person’s budget to fail. A broken fridge, a minor accident or illness, rising food, fuel, electricity, and other basic costs can add tremendous pressures.
Sometimes a relatively small amount of assistance can help to avert a crisis that otherwise might result in homelessness, while at other times, for the price of a prescription or medical device, we can prevent a health crisis. Equally important, we help with special needs that contribute to positive change. We’ve provided travel costs for runaway youth who are ready to return home, work boots and tools needed for employment, and tuition/childcare to help someone complete training that results in financial self-sufficiency.
The Trustee program provides financial stewardship for individuals who are challenged to manage their limited income – sometimes to the point of homelessness. Many clients of the trustee program struggle with mental illness, disability and addictions, and have a history of poor choices in managing their income. Besides paying their bills, we help find housing, and provide individualized support with life skills.
The Tax Return program is the only one in the area which operates year round. This is critical as a person can lose or not be eligible to apply for Income Assistance if they haven’t filed a tax return. Many of our clients are challenged with language and literacy, and many have been homeless for a period of years and have no records or even identification. Solving these issues can be the first step towards becoming housed.
In addition to the year-round work of the Mission, we make a special effort to share the joy of Christmas. Our clothing bank collects gift items and toys, the food bank packages Christmas hampers, and we also have a Christmas Eve turkey dinner.