ARK's drop-in centre on Gottingen Street
continues to be vibrant, busy, and growing. Two evenings a week we welcome 20-30
street youth (and 5-10 street dogs) for a delicious supper. Caring individuals who
prepare the food ahead of time and deliver it to us donate most of the meals. Mealtime
brings everyone together and is, therefore, and extremely important part of the centre.
Although some youth just come to eat, many others spend entire evenings at the
drop-in centre doing various activities involving art, computers, cards, sewing,
discussion, and much more. Clearly, evenings at the drop-in are always diverse
and active. Days at the drop-in are somewhat different because they are more
growth-oriented. The youth can come to eat, but then must work on something
productive (apartment/job searches, resumes, filling out forms, etc). Friday
afternoons are also quite special because they are arts-centred. There is a
pottery program that has already produced beautiful works, and plans for a mural
are now being put into action. We are excited to learn more from our street youth.
The centre is maturing as we continue to walk alongside one another.
Do You Know Him?
People are astonished at him,
so marred is his appearance -
beyond human semblance.
There is nothing in his appearance
that is desirable.
We despise and reject him - Spring
Garden Road is off limits.
He suffers and is a wreck physically.
People who pass him hide their faces,
avert their eyes.
He is diseased, afflicted,
He is punished and has a black eye.
Isaiah 52, 53
Who believes our report?
|Sunday Supper Update
St.Andrew's Church (at the corner of Coburg and Robie) is still our locale,
and great food and celebration is still our tradition. During the summer
months we are often short of help as many students, families and other
consistent volunteers are away. So come on out some Sunday afternoon and
discover the joys of serving and sharing a meal with your neighbours!
We wish to express our gratitude to those of you who recognize Christ on
the street and have so generously supported our work. In particular, special
donations have allowed us to purchase a new washer and dryer as well as a brand
new 'fußball' table for the drop-in. Your consistent gifts support two full-time
and two part-time staff members for our weekly daytime hours.
We are still in need, however, of more regular, pre-authorized contributions
so that we can continue to provide consistent and stable support to the homeless
community we serve.
Knowing Our Neighbourhood...
- Amount of federal money allocated for affordable social housing programs
since 1993: 0$
- Province with the highest level of substandard housing: Nova Scotia
- Number of people in HRM who sleep either in a shelter or in unaffordable,
unsafe, substandard or overcrowded "housing" conditions on any given night: 1300-3000
- Amount of active and enforced rent control legislation in HRM: none
- Cost of an 8'x 8' room (no kitchen, no bathroom) in Halifax: $450
- Charge for "squeegeeing" (cleaning windshields): "Failure to use a sidewalk"
- Fine that can accompany the above-mentioned charge: $117.25
- Charge for holding a sign (for change, food, shelter, etc): "Placing a sign without a permit"
- Fine that can accompany the above-mentioned charge: $215
Damien has been coming to the drop-in centre since its
very earliest days. He knows as well as anybody what a place like the centre can
mean to a young person. When asked why he keeps coming back, Damien had very clear
reasons: "Good, friendly people, a comfortable environment, and honest people willing
Like Damien, Jill and Debbie are drop-in "veterans". In their friendship, the ARK
goal of fostering respectful and lasting relationships has been realized. When asked
to comment on how the drop-in centre has influenced their relationship, they said...
Jill: "Because fun is the common bond we share, barriers
like fashion or social status carry no meaning."
Debbie: "The drop-in has allowed us to develop
an easy friendship where we can play cards, laugh together or talk about things
that matter. Over the last year we have had lots of opportunities to do this."