Story and photo by Andrea Shierson
It’s getting frosty walking around downtown Oshawa and there are many people who do not have their basic needs met including food, clothing, shoes and even jackets.
But thanks to an ever growing and prosperous program called the Back Door Mission run through Simcoe Street United Church, people have a place to warm up, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate, snacks and even make a few friends.
For one man in particular, accessing services through the Back Door Mission is a daily routine and so is visiting St.Vincent’s soup kitchen.
“I come here because it offers a place where one can sit and relax for a little bit and interact with people with whom one can feel somewhat comfortable talking with,” says Dean Schinderl who sits sipping his styrofoam cup of hot chocolate.
There are many issues for people who are homeless, at risk of being homeless and for those existing in the margins of society. But, there may be a silver lining of the margin with the unique partnership between Simcoe Street United Church’s Back Door mission, the city of Oshawa and the University of Ontario Institue of Technology.
A partnership like this could help alleviate some of the unneeded stress a person on Ontario Works (OW), Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), homeless or at risk of being homeless experience daily.
This partnership would help bring in some of the social services like OW, ODSP and others that are offered by the city of Oshawa to Simcoe Street United Church. This would help alleviate the overwhelming stress of trying to find transportation to get to all of the appointments one must attend when receiving OW or ODSP.
“Anybody that says people who are homeless or on welfare choose to be in the situation they are in, people who think that way have no idea how hard it really is,” says Minister David Moore.
Moore doesn’t think a lot of folks with secure jobs sitting behind their important desks could survive for even a week out on the streets.
For Schinderl, being out on the streets makes him feel like he’s a kitten in a cage packed with bulldogs.
Hopefully for Schinderl people will keep dropping off warm jackets, boots, scarves, hats and shoes. Maybe one day Shcinderl will feel free of the cage and all the salivating bulldogs he faces daily out on the streets of Oshawa.
If you would like to donate to the Back Door Mission in any way please contact Simcoe Street United Church at 905.728.8143 or you can make a donation by dropping by the church which is located at 66 Simcoe Street South.