Updated: Mar 4, 2021
St Matthew’s Maryland Community Ministry has been a communal gathering spot for many years, long before becoming affiliated with 1JustCity. It has been pivotal in the evolution of the community and surrounding areas since it has stood on the ground. It’s fair to say that St. Matthew’s has had its own rich history within itself, but just recently there has been a huge addition to the services normally offered, and that is the opening of St. Matthew’s throughout the weekend.
Everybody knows that on the weekend, hours and services of service providers are limited compared to regular hours. Thankfully for the majority of people the reduction of services is a mild inconvenience remedied by the end of the weekend. However this is not the case for the many hundreds of Winnipeggers experiencing homelessness. Those who have lost access to a home one way or another may have been affected by factors decided as bluntly as a coin-flip. These people, who have lost a basic human right are one of the most vulnerable and most affected by the limiting of resources and services available due to the weekends plus the COVID-19 pandemic.
I believe that it is fair to say that there is not adequate support and resources for our homeless population in general, let alone accessible on the weekends. And that is why the extension of days at St Matthew's and opening of Just A Warm Sleep is another step in the evolution of support for those who are most in need. This may be obvious to some, but what is not seen is the countless individuals who I've had the pleasure to meet working here. There is a very kind homeless gentleman who often comes to our drop-in. Since the temperature has dropped it has been absolutely heartbreaking to see him come in the morning, shivering, absolutely bone cold, looking for a place to rest. There are countless community members I've met, living alone, battling loneliness who come to our drop-in. They come down to catch up, grab a coffee, sit down and have a relief from that loneliness, even if it is for a short while. These are the small victories that make what happens here so important.
One of the community members brought in a news clipping of the article about the opening of St Matthew's on the weekends because they thought that it was important we have something like that. They were absolutely correct as this is another piece of St Matthew's history and support for our community. Thanks to those supporting 1JustCity hopefully this will be a permanent addition to St Matthew's.