Online Resources

Raising the Roof

RTR are a national leader in long-term solutions to ending homelessness. This is a great resource if you would like to understand more about what it means to be homeless in Canada. Each year, we support more than 50 community agencies across the country, and work together with partners in all sectors to address the issue. We bring awareness and attention to the challenges of homelessness, engaging Canadians through public education.

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The Homeless Hub

The Homeless Hub is a web-based research library and information centre representing an innovative step forward in the use of technology to enhance knowledge mobilization and networking.

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Journey Home - Kelowna

The Journey Home Strategy is Kelowna’s 5-year plan to address homelessness with a focus on ensuring everyone has a place to call home. The goal is to ensure a coordinated and easy to access system of care for those in Kelowna who have lost, or are at risk of losing their home.

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FAQ

What does Metro Community do?

Metro Community is a church, a group of people from all walks of life learning to live together. At the heart of our community – most treasured among us – are those most vulnerable in society, the homeless, excluded and addicted. Metro is a place where the stranger is the treasured guest. We gather on Sundays for multiple services and a free community breakfast, but we also have a centre, a home - called Metro Central, that is open Monday through Friday with a coffee shop, drop in space, computers, food, counselling, pastoral care and community. Our courtyard doubles as an oasis in the downtown of our city, with a fire pit, gathering spaces, parking for bikes and carts, a BBQ venue, shady rest, and a greenhouse where we grow a modest selection of our own vegetables. We are excited about Metro’s newly acquired building on Ellis Street, adjoining our courtyard and existing offices. This will serve as our new gathering space, a centre for all of our ministry and partnerships, and a hub for the downtown community, for arts, exhibitions, performances, drop-in, church services and some of our Metro social purpose initiatives. We tend not to think of ministry at Metro being about serving so much as we think of it as journeying together. The reality is, that in our individualistic society, we have created compartmentalized lives. What if the posture to our lives, was to know The One who made us, and to love and be loved by those around us? 'To know and be known' - that is what ministry looks like in our community. We want you to get involved, not because we need people to do things, but because it is in the journeying together that we allow our lives to be intertwined. It's in the beautiful chaos of that journeying that we encounter the character of God, as we share our lives, and as we discover, that we were never intended to make the pilgrimage alone. "Christian community is only this. We belong to one another only through, and in Jesus Christ." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 'Life Together'.

How long has Metro Community been around?

Metro began as a Saturday night ministry back in 2008 and by 2011 was planted out as its own church community within the MB Church of British Columbia. Our first community centre was on Water Street in Kelowna and after its demolition in March 2016, we became nomadic again and homeless as a community. In November 2017, we were gifted a new home, on the corner of St Paul Street and Coronation Ave.

What are Metro Community’s Initiatives?

Our social purpose initiatives help to restore the lives of those who have lost their dignity or the opportunity to work. Through a professional but forgiving work environment, we aim to instil confidence and skill. We also put a high value on community partnerships, which allow us to provide opportunities we otherwise would not be able to offer. As a part of that effort, we seek to build opportunities with like-minded companies in the marketplace who have a committeemen and a heart to see people given a hand up, not a hand out. We currently have partnerships with the City of Kelowna, UBC and the RCMP to develop a PBC (Personal Belongings Carrier), as well as ’Teas for Good’, a small but blossoming health and wellness initiative from within the Metro Community. A successful, long-standing Metro initiative has gone on to become its own non-profit organization, ‘Launch Kelowna’, a financial literacy foundation, empowering lives and building futures. (www.launchkelowna.ca)

What services are offered at Metro Community?

Like most churches we offer pastoral and spiritual care, as well as assistance when people are struggling with material needs. But unlike many churches, we can also offer a unique array of opportunities for detox, recovery, training, and empowerment through our partnerships. Our centre has opening for volunteers and we have counselling, access to computers, meals, laundry, music, and arts engagement. Our free store is fully stocked with quality clothing and footwear, carefully selected and cleaned before being placed on the shelves, and on Sundays, we have a free community breakfast and coffee throughout.

How do I get involved with Metro Community as a volunteer?

Three ways: 1. Drop by our offices, Metro Central or on Sunday morning, say hi, introduce yourself and let’s have a coffee! 2. Pick up our volunteer application, fill it out, tell us the things that you’re passionate about and we’ll try our best to plug you in! 3. Head to our about webpage and fill out our online volunteer form.

Why do some people choose to remain homeless?

There are many myths and stereotypes that people believe about homelessness. This misinformation is problematic, as it further contributes to the stigmatization of a population that is already marginalized. In order to appropriately tackle the issue of homelessness and create a society where individuals feel comfortable accessing supports, these myths must be deconstructed and understood to be false by the general public. Below are six of the many misconceptions about homelessness, compared to the realities for people who are experiencing homelessness. Myth: People choose to be homeless. Fact: A variety of different factors can contribute to an individual’s experience of homelessness. Often, people experience homelessness when all other options have been exhausted, and/or they are dealing with circumstances that make it difficult to maintain housing. Some of the obstacles that may lead people to their experiences of homelessness include: - Eviction - The affordable housing crisis - Coping with mental illnesses or addictions, which makes it difficult to maintain independent housing Myth: People experiencing homelessness are lazy. Fact: In order to survive, many people who experience homelessness are constantly in search for the necessities of life, such as food, shelter and a source of income. Therefore, due to the barriers that they face, many people experiencing homelessness do not have the option of being stagnant or lazy. For example, searching for a job becomes even more challenging when an individual does not have access to a phone, computer, or fixed address on a regular basis. Myth: All people who experience homelessness are addicts. Fact: Many people who experience homelessness do not struggle with substance abuse problems or addictions. Just like in the general population, only a percentage of those who are experiencing homelessness deal with addictions. People experiencing homelessness may deal with other issues related to their experiences of homelessness, including trauma and mental illness, for example. Myth: People experiencing homelessness should just find a job. Fact: There are already people experiencing homelessness who are employed; however, it is much more difficult to find a job while experiencing homelessness. A number of different challenges, such as: lacking a permanent address, not having regular access to showers, barriers to transportation, and other difficulties like mental illness, make it difficult to obtain employment. Even when individuals experiencing homelessness find jobs, they are often part-time or minimum wage positions. This work fails to adequately meet their needs, due to expensive housing costs. Myth: There are plenty of adequate services and supports to help those experiencing homelessness. Fact: Many of the solutions and supports for homelessness have focused on emergency services, such as shelters and food banks. For individuals who are trying to escape a cycle of poverty and homelessness, emergency services alone are not adequate. There is a need to focus on the larger systemic factors, including the lack of affordable housing and the criminalization of homelessness that prevent people from obtaining permanent and suitable shelter. Myth: Property values will go down if we let homeless shelters or services into our neighbourhoods. Fact: Downtown Kelowna is a concentrated area with supports and services for people experiencing homelessness. Despite the relatively large numbers of people who go into the downtown core to access these services, housing prices remain high and there is no evidence to support this myth. This common misperception and attitude is referred to as “Not in My Backyard” (NIMBY) and can have detrimental effects for people who need to access services in different neighbourhoods. Overall, the myths that exist about homelessness are generalizations of a more complicated reality. It is important for those who have never experienced homelessness before to understand that every homeless individual faces a different and complex set of circumstances. It is the responsibility of the general public to educate themselves about issues related to homelessness. This will hopefully result in sensitive and compassionate conversations and solutions to homelessness.

Does Metro Community belong to a denomination?

We are a part of the Mennonite Brethren denomination in BC, Canada. We function as a family of churches, bonded together by a confession of faith and common understandings. However, Metro Community functions as an independent charity, issues tax receipts and is governed by its own Board.

What items do you accepts as donations?

We gratefully accept all manner of donations, and ensure that gifts are never sold. 100% of what you give goes directly to those in the greatest need in our community. We always are in need of seasonal clothing; socks, underwear, warm jackets, sleeping bags and blankets. As part of our mission, we need to raise a significant amount of money to support our operational budget each year. For financial gifts, please consider making an ongoing monthly commitment. Any gifts can be made by heading to our give webpage - and all of your donations will receive a tax receipt.

Recommended Materials

wanting to learn more about the challenges metro community faces? here are some reading materials you might find helpful and inspiring. each one will inform you of a different aspect of life in our community. the stories told may not be of metro community, but they might as well be…

God in the Alley

God in the Alley

Greg Paul

Barking to the Choir

Barking to the Choir

Greg Boyle

Close Enough to Hear God Breathe

Close Enough to Hear God Breathe

Greg Paul

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts

Gabor Maté

When Helping Hurts

When Helping Hurts

Steve Corbett

Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It)

Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It)

Robert D. Lupton