Richmond Community Drop-In Centre

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Richmond Community Drop-In Centre

Richmond, Canada
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Grassroots community drop-in centre opening with zero dollars, using volunteers, donated space, donated furnishings ... and tons of collaboration.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Richmond is known as a prosperous suburb of Vancouver and one of the host cities of the 2010 Olympics, but not so well known as a city with a large population of women, men and children living on the margins: over 500 families line up at the Food Bank each week, over 150 individuals attend community meals and dozens find themselves homeless. People on the margins live isolated lives: they often suffer from mental or physical illnesses, addictions or poverty which contributes to the isolation. They don't feel connected or part of the community or welcome in too many places. At best, they are tolerated in the library and some fast food chains. This project is going to change all that, by opening a welcoming community drop-in centre, a first for Richmond.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Richmond's first community drop-in centre will be a welcoming, comfortable and safe place for anyone facing life’s challenges. All will be heard, respected and supported. We will offer the simple comforts of a hot cup of coffee or tea and a place to sit and relax. There will be opportunities for socializing, perhaps leading to new friendships, or spending one-on-one time with one of our volunteers who will listen to their stories, their concerns and their dreams and provide moral support, encouragement and referrals to existing services. The need is so urgent that we are opening this centre without any money, staffing it entirely by volunteers (some of whom are from the marginalized population) in a small donated space with donated furnishings -- we don't want to wait for funding before opening. In parallel, we are lining up funding, partnerships and sponsors and are planning to move into a more permanent facility, with both volunteer and paid staff, before the end of 2013.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Our solution will make a difference by providing comfort and dignity to our guests. At our initial temporary location, they will be able to get a cup of coffee, stay comfortable and dry, and visit with their friends, other guests and volunteers. They will be able to make use of a computer to conduct job searches and stay in touch with family and other friends. Once we have a location with more space, we plan to include outreach programs, showers, laundry facilities and possibly meals. We want to foster the feeling of being part of a community and to have some ownership in that community. Our guests may become volunteers themselves, something several of our potential guests have expressed a desire to do. We will be holding a contest to name the centre and create a logo and we will be inviting our guests to submit entries. They will also be invited to submit suggestions regarding the types of services which would be useful to them.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are no drop-in centres in Richmond. Services that address a similar population include: 1. CMHA Pathways Clubhouse offers structured programming and a low-cost meal program but it is not a drop-in centre and is only open to mental health consumers. 2. Richmond Food Bank 3. Inn from the Cold Extreme Weather Shelter 4. Weekly Community Meal at St Alban 5. weekly Hand Up to Hope community meal All of these organizations are welcoming, but none is a drop-in centre. Note that organizations 2 through 5 are part of the drop-in centre committee and are the main source for identifying need, and will also be our source for volunteers.


What are your thoughts? We would love to hear them!

Gaylene Van Dusen's picture

Have you talked to the Richmond Caring Place about getting space allocated? It would make sense to have the involvement of others who work in the fields related to the social safety net so they could provide advice to anyone seeking a referral to a specific type of assistance. I know there is a network of professionals that meet regularly around the provision of services to children and families and they have a Family Fun Night once a month with a complimentary dinner at the Richmond Caring Place. I think what you are identifying is an unmet need that requires further collaboration to create a space. I would encourage you to seek the involvement of those who have access to resources like space, program funds, and professional best practices to help get the project off the ground. Another suggestion is to talk to the people who organize other drop-in facilities such as the one for people with disabilities on #3 Road, across from Lansdowne Centre, and see what they did to get their drop-in centre off the ground. (I think there's a youth one as well at Pathways.)