As the committee investigated the needs of the community, one in particular touched the hearts of those involved, and created a burning passion to make a difference: the high number of disadvantaged and vulnerable youth in our immediate area, aged 16-24, many of whom are homeless and “couch surfing”. The call was heard to take on this challenge and a group under the heading of Building Bridges was formed. Due to the scope and size of this need and the passion the members of the committee developed to address it, other churches in the area agreed to participate in this endeavour. A faith-based board of directors was formed comprising three representatives from Meadow Brook Church and three more from local churches. This group is supported by a Steering Committee, which is comprised of individuals from a local high school, Leamington District Memorial Hospital, the Municipality of Leamington, local churches, and other non-profit agencies.
Community Connections has been busy bringing the following vision to reality: the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church site was purchased in January of 2017 and the two-acre property, which houses the former church building, will undergo a major transformation in three phases. Below is a breakdown of the three-phase plan, which will commence in the near future:
Youth Hub – this will be a drop-in centre for youth. The ACCESS Leamington Youth Centre will be permanently housed here to provide many of their existing services to youth – nutritional, care (physical/mental), employment/educational support, interim housing. The Hub will also provide a safe environment to access food, showers, laundry, computers, recreational activities, and social interaction. Renovations are expected to commence early in the spring of 2017, with completion expected to be in late spring.
Transitional Housing – housing will be constructed to provide a home for homeless youth for up to 12 months. Youth in need will also be assisted in transitioning into a more stable environment. Some of the needs that will be met include health, housing, and education/employment. It is anticipated this stage will be completed within one to two years as funding comes in through grants and fundraising.
Long-term housing – once the youth have transitioned and are contributing members of our community, more permanent housing will be made available to them in order to allow the ongoing transitioning into a stable environment. Rental income will be generated from the units of this phase, aligned to the income of the individual youth. This phase of the plan is more long term, with completion anticipated within three years.
The Community Connections team appreciates all the prayers and support thus far and looks forward to working with members of our church to bring the three phases of the vision into fruition. If you have any questions, or would like to get involved, you can contact one of the following representatives from Meadow Brook Church (click to email).
Please check the Building Bridges website for more resources and information: www.buildingbridgesleamington.com
Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.
Missions at Meadow Brook is an expression of our love as a church for the local and global community. As a church, we support several families who are helping to share Jesus with others across Canada and around the world.
As a member of the Canadian Conference of MB Churches, we also partner with MBMission as we work to make the name of Jesus known around the world. If you would like more information about MBMission, please follow the link below.
To know more about missions at Meadow Brook, please contact us!