Why is NightShift building a Care Village?
Since its inception in January 2004, NightShift has consistently provided assistance to people living in poverty, on the streets and in desperate need of help. What started as a one-hot-meal-a-day initiative clearly had the propensity to provide more. As an awareness of the predicament of homeless people increased, food and clothing donations started pouring in. Now a thriving clothing donation program ensures a fresh change of clothes, a warm blanket and a basic care kits is always available to whoever needs it during nightly service. The evening outreach program has recently been augmented with a mobile counselling/medical/referral unit offering free services to people seeking immediate and longer-term help. Daytime resources have also been added in the form of a counselling centre and outreach aid is offered through a thrift boutique.
Yet there’s a crucial gap, between frontline outreach and sustained recovery that is deadly.
How easy is it to take people as they come, when they come with a cart overflowing with memories, piled high with their worldly possessions, and often their only friend in the world in tow in the form of a pet? What do you do with a person who has no place to go because he or she is self medicating with illegal drugs or alcohol to mask emotional or physical pain, or struggling with mental health issues, or both? People aren’t perfect, they come as they are with what they have, and if they’ve mustered the courage to come forward at all, they can’t afford to be turned away.
At NightShift we do not want to turn anyone away. We do not want anyone slipping through the cracks.
Which is why we are developing a holistic approach to provide a continuum of support and care, to help people transition from addictions and their street environment to successfully reintegrate as contributing members into the community. Our vision is for people to find a renewed sense of hope and purpose, and know they are loved and accepted unconditionally.
The longer-term recovery will take place in the Care Village. Located in a rural setting in northern BC, the Care Village is a community setting which will provide a safe haven to start the process of healing and reintegration, by incorporating therapy and education, social, life and vocation skills.
The Care Village will offer all the major attributes of safe community living: a nurturing accommodation, social participation, practical training and work experience, the opportunity to learn new skills and explore any leisure activities that the property offers. Residents participate in the running and self-sustainability of the Care Village by growing and producing the food, managing the animals and manufacturing products for own use and sale. Program participants, professionals, volunteers and staff all live together in community as each works through his or her unique healing process.
NightShift believes that even the smallest effort multiplied by many people has an enormous impact in making a difference in helping to guide people to a new and happier life.
In the fall of 2011, we asked for your vote on the Aviva Community Funding website in order to make a difference in the life of an individual in need. Each vote was a step towards building a community, towards raising a village. A village of care and healing, as an alternative to living life in suffering, exclusion and without a place to call home.
Although our project did not make it through to the semi-finals of all the hundreds of worthwhile causes, we know from the thousands of votes the Care Village received that we are on the right track and we are actively pursuing the vision.
Now in the summer of 2012, we rode up to the village as part of the Freedom Biker Church’s Recovery Ride 2012. Our daily ride reports are available here: