Everyone pleased with mission move

Cody Wall
By Cody Wall March 23, 2018 13:58

Windsor’s Downtown Mission Director of Development Rukshini Ponniah-Goulin standing in current Mission location (Photo by Cody Wall)

By Cody Wall

The Downtown Mission of Windsor is scheduled to move in 2019 and residents in the area and The Mission all agree that it is for the best.

Due to a shortage of space, the Mission recently purchased the Windsor Public Library central branch downtown. The purchase of the library will allow the Mission to reach out to other companies and improve its services because of the larger space. The Mission’s Director of Development Rukshini Ponniah-Goulin said that currently the Mission’s dining hall is able to seat 200 people, however is very crowded. Ponniah-Goulin said with the new building, the Mission will be able to fit at least 300 people comfortably during meals.

“This building where we are at right now is unable to provide our services to the best level for our guests,” said Ponniah-Goulin. “It’s not meant to handle the number of people that we are getting daily.”

The Mission provides more than 700 meals a day. With limited space and a growing number of people Ponniah-Goulin said it was only a matter of time before they would have to move. Limited space means people have been sleeping on the floor, one of the major reasons why the Mission was so passionate about finding a new location.

“We wanted to give them a little more respect, dignity and try to move them forward and out of poverty,” said Ponniah-Goulin.

Many of the residents living on the same block are also happy with the move. Peg Dorner, a high school teacher who has lived in her Victoria Avenue home for the past 40 years said she is happy with the move because she feels the Mission is not a good fit in the neighbourhood.

“There was just an unfair expectation of what the residents should be putting up with,” said Dorner.

Dorner said over the past year multiple neighbours have moved because of the problem with people sleeping on their front lawns and leaving needles and other drugs around their property. Dorner herself has stated that she finds needles in her lawn.

“I found a heroin-filled needle in my front lawn and they’re saying that it is not the Mission’s fault and you can’t blame that on the Mission,” said Dorner.

Ponniah-Goulin said that in order to help ease the problem for the neighbourhood the Mission has put together a cleanup group that regularly picks up the needles and other trash caused by guests of the Mission.

“We believe it will be a better spot,” said Ponniah-Goulin, of the new location. “Not necessarily for the staff and program themselves but for the people.”

Cody Wall
By Cody Wall March 23, 2018 13:58

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