Dear friend,

We’re halfway through 2021 and we wouldn’t be where we are today without the generosity and dedication of supporters like you.

Over the past year, you made an impact when it counted the most. Over the winter months your generosity allowed our high accessibility emergency shelter, the Hotel Place Dupuis, to run from November 2020 to the end of June 2021. At our busiest, you helped us provide shelter to an incredible 330 people a night!

As always, our top priority is to help every Montrealer in need find a home. Thanks to you, we’ve begun a brand-new housing initiative called Programme Bienvenue that seeks to find the right pathway to permanent housing for every individual.

While ambitious, we have high hopes for this public health funded project and feel confident that this is a great step forward in our mission to end homelessness in Montreal.

From all of us at Welcome Hall Mission, thank you for your commitment to making Montreal the best city it can be.

Gratefully,

Samuel Watts

CEO/Executive Director

Celebrating Lives Changed for the Better

The most rewarding part of my job is when someone doesn’t need Welcome Hall Mission’s services anymore. Does that sound strange? To some it might. But every time someone’s life changes for the better — so they don’t need our services anymore — is a cause for celebration.

Of course, these personal triumphs happen behind closed doors, which is why I’d like to tell you about Gynlowe.

Gynlowe first reached out to us around mid-March of 2020, which you’ll remember was just the start of this pandemic.

Working part-time as an orderly, Gynlowe was stretched thin, juggling nursing classes, providing for her son, and attempting to keep up with parenting.

“I’m doing everything as a single parent, and the pandemic is…” she paused for a moment. “It’s making everything so much more challenging. Either I have to find money for additional childcare or I have to work less to watch him. I don’t know how we’re going to get through this, no matter what I do.”

As she shared the particulars of her experience, I simply listened.

“I’m so sorry, that does sound like a catch-22. Have you heard about Marché Bon Accueil?” I asked. “It’s a fully-stocked market where you can pick up all the ingredients on your shopping list, free of charge. We can go over the details and get you signed up today, if you like.”

Gynlowe didn’t miss a beat.

“Oh! I can do my own shopping? I thought maybe you’d have a food bank or something, but an actual food market? That would be a big help” – Gynlowe

As Gynlowe and I continued to talk, I learned she was studying to become a nurse.

As the pandemic continued, her orderly position was considered essential work, and she was given full-time hours. While this helped cover the cost of additional childcare, she had less time to prepare for her exam, and she and her son were at increased risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus.

Her work and study schedule also meant she had little time for anything else.

“I really don’t know how I’ll manage to pick up my grocery order. I’m working long hours and I don’t get off until the Marche has closed,” she said, emotion straining her voice.

I reassured Gynlowe, “Let’s arrange for you to grab your order when you can!”

For the next few months, we made special grocery-pick-up appointments around her schedule. Then we didn’t hear from her.

One day months later, I received an email from Gynlowe. She’d passed her nursing exam. This was fabulous news! She’s now a full-time nurse and can provide for her family.

These moments truly make our work worth the effort.

Thank you for supporting Montrealers like Gynlowe so they can create sustainable lives for themselves and their families.

— Jerry, Welcome Hall Mission Customer Satisfaction Advisor

Opens the Door to Permanent Housing

On June 30th, 2021, we closed the doors to our emergency shelter at the Hotel Place Dupuis, which has graciously helped serve people in need of a warm bed or place to isolate from COVID-19 since November 2020.

Throughout its duration, we were able to offer over 60,000 nights of shelter to vulnerable Montrealers at a critical time in our city. At its peak, this temporary refuge sheltered over 330 men, women and their companion animals every night.

With your help, thousands of evaluations, interventions and referrals were accomplished through this emergency program. At this location, rapid testing and isolation units kept COVID-19 outbreaks to an absolute minimum and set up a very successful vaccination program, reaching hundreds of Montrealers without a home.

Your generosity made an enormous impact on people experiencing homelessness in Montreal this winter and spring. Thank you for making sure each and every one of us had access to somewhere safe to stay and self-isolate during this health crisis.

Short Term Support For Long Term Gain

In order to help people move into realistic, permanent housing situations, Welcome Hall Mission started a new pilot project called Program Bienvenue. Thanks to public health funding—and support from donors like you—this program is designed to assist people coming out of homelessness and looking for housing by providing them with ongoing support that eases the transition into independent living.

It works like this. For the first three months, participants receive partial rental assistance, plus additional money for their groceries. Right now, the objective of the program is to help 120 people access permanent housing with the additional support they need to stabilize their housing situation by the end of the summer.

“The goal is that after three months, the person will be able to fly on their own. [Then], we continue to offer psychosocial support.” – Jean-Michel Gélinas, supervisor of Program Bienvenue

Already, 40 people are receiving support in their new homes, and steps have been taken with another 75 individuals! This is a big step in breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness. Thank you for helping to make life-changing initiatives like Program Bienvenue possible.