This blog post was provided by Rod Janz, Manager of Development and Communications, Mission Possible.
Every year across Canada, more than 200,000 people are faced with the difficult realities of homelessness. Although every situation is unique, one commonality is shared among those facing homelessness or poverty: bouncing back from such a difficult situation can be very challenging, and sometimes unreachable, without a helping hand. But imagine if things could be solved simply by securing employment for those in need?
It’s at Mission Possible where this thought is turned into reality.
One day last November, Matt Smedley, Mission Possible’s Chief Executive Officer walked out of our office and met a man standing outside reading our window sign. “Can I get work here?” he asked.
Matt eagerly let him know what we could do to help him, and then listened to a bit of his story. He was a chef by trade and worked most of his life. He listed off more certifications than Matt could count! It was obvious from the conversation that this man still had a lot to offer, but he spent the past five years deep in addiction. Now a few months into his recovery he really wanted a job. He told Matt, “I don’t want to collect welfare. I want to work!”
This is a common theme we hear from many people who walk through our doors. People are looking for a job because it offers so much more than simply money in their wallet. It provides dignity and purpose, community, and belonging.
For over 24 years, Mission Possible has walked alongside people challenged by homelessness and poverty on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Each day we provide employment training and support while also creating jobs that build bridges to stability through a variety of enterprising ventures. Mission Possible is helping people renew a sense of dignity and purpose through meaningful work.
So why do we do what we do? Two thirds of residents living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside are living below Canada’s poverty line, and 75 percent of adults in our immediate neighbourhood who live in Single Room Occupancy Hotels (SRO’s) are unemployed. At Mission Possible, we meet people everyday who are looking for an opportunity to volunteer or find work.
In 2016, Mission Possible trained over 100 individuals in employment skills and employed over 40 in transitional jobs. We know that when it comes to impacting the lives of those struggling with poverty, meaningful work is essential as expressed to Matt by the man standing outside our office on a day late in November.