Mission Statement of the Westside Anglicans Neighbourhood Ministry
Reviewed by the Board of Management on Nov 23, 2021
Initiated in 2008 under the leadership of Deacon Pitman Potter, the Neighbourhood Ministry (NM) continues to transform lives. It is a collaborative ministry to serve people living on our streets offered by the parishes of
Under a Board of Management, the Neighbourhood Ministry is in its 13th year of offering care, companionship and practical help to our most vulnerable neighbours living on Westside streets and in marginalized conditions.
The Neighbourhood Ministry was started in 2008 when a small group of concerned church members decided that they would like to support the people who are unhoused or insecurely housed on the West Side. The response that they got from many was “there aren’t any homeless people on the Westside”. But then these same people started to look around them: there’s someone outside Shoppers on Dunbar, and at the corner of 4th and Vine, etc. They realised that the issue wasn’t that there weren’t any unhoused people in our neighbourhood, it was just that they didn’t SEE them. We believe that that is the same, to a greater or lesser degree, for all of us. As we go about our busy lives, the homeless people become almost invisible and surely often they feel that way too.
At its core, the NM continues its weekly street walks by volunteers from the four churches who deliver packets of food & clothing to homeless individuals. Hundreds of packets are delivered each year.
In many cases, the Street Outreach teams find individuals who need help completing government paperwork for ID, income & disability assistance, and housing.
In 2017, two new services were launched: The Mobile Care Unit (MCU) and the Angels Program. NM ‘Angels’ are paired with clients who require extra support in accessing services for which they are eligible..
In partnership with the UBC schools of Medicine and Social Work, the MCU is a ‘travelling’ team of doctors, social work students, and NM volunteers that visited Kits Showers and St. Augustine’s twice a month to provide basic medical and social services to needy people who face barriers to such support.
People received basic medical services such as wound care, diagnosis, preventative care, assistance with disability applications, and referrals for long term or specialty care. The people served by the MCU received social services ranging from disability, diabetic and dietician information assistance to housing, CPP, tax claims, birth certificate and ID applications.
Due to pandemic restrictions and still the case in early 2022, the Kits Showers program and the MCU working partnership with UBC Social Work students have been curtailed until further notice.
How is the Neighbourhood Ministry Funded?
The Westside Anglicans Neighbourhood Ministry (WANM) is a collaborative effort of four Westside Anglican parishes (St. Anselm’s, St. Helen’s, St. John’s Shaughnessy and St. Philip’s), all under the Diocese of New Westminster.
Each church contributes $2,500 annually to the WANM. St. Philip's contribution comes out of the Outreach Budget. The rest of the funding for WANM comes from grants. In 2018 and 2019 this Ministry received a Care and Share grant. In 2020 it received a grant from the City of Vancouver and recently it was awarded $10,000 from the Union Gospel Mission's Christian Leader's Fund. The WANM expenses include, but are not limited to, staffing (for example, Rev'd Liz Hamel worked as Program and Volunteers Manager from Fall 2020 to June 2021), office supplies, sleeping bags and other camping gear, Christmas Outreach, individual support (eg moving-in expenses for a client) and funding for meal programs at the Dunbar Apartments.
The food supplies that go out every week are collected by each church individually and mainly donated by their parishioners. St Philip’s also maintains its own separate Neighbourhood Ministry account to fund the purchase of items it may need (protein bars, Ensure, socks, etc.)
The Neighbourhood Ministry has been recognized by the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster as a GEM recipient (2012-2014), Care+Share recipient (2018-2019) and designation as a Related Group.
For more information about the MCU Unit or the Neighbourhood Ministry, please visit the Neighbourhood Ministry website at neighbourhoodministry.com
The latest Neighbourhood Ministry reports from St Philip's volunteers can be found in the News section of this website.