About The Brunswick Street Mission
A Bit of History
The Brunswick Street Mission has done God's work in downtown Halifax for well over 100 years.
In the 1860's the 'Edward Jost Mission' was established in north end Halifax; it subsequently became 'The City Mission'. After moving through several sites and a few periods of inactivity, the work of the Mission was assumed under the congregation of Brunswick Street United Church in 1929.
In its earliest days, the City Mission offered various supports including job placements for "domestics", child care, food and clothing. The work of the Mission has changed since then, programs have come and gone as needed, but food and clothing support and a warm welcome have remained a necessity.
Over time, shrinking membership in the Brunswick Street United Church meant that the work of the Mission grew to be too big a burden to carry. So in 2005, the Halifax Presbytery of The United Church of Canada approved the trial formation of a separate entity: The Brunswick Street Mission.
The legacy of the Mission, begun so long ago, and nurtured by many stewards through the years has never wavered although the face has changed many times as the Mission constantly seeks to meet the needs of those in poverty in a changing world.
We are an "Outreach Ministry" – our relationship to the United Church of Canada
Often, the work of Mission is the work of a particular church or congregation, and that is how the Brunswick Street Mission operated for more than a century. Over time, shrinking membership in the Brunswick Street United Church meant that the work of the Mission grew to be too big a burden to carry.
In response, the Halifax Presbytery of The United Church of Canada approved the trial formation of a separate entity: The Brunswick Street Mission. A new Board of Directors , comprised of members from the 8 Halifax Peninsular UCC Churches, accepted the mandate to oversee and manage the ministry of this important Mission. Begun as a trial in 2005, Presbytery declared the trial to be successful and the arrangement made permanent in 2009.
The Brunswick Street Mission was created by, inspired by, and is strongly supported by the United Church of Canada.
But we are not a church – we are a community based organization seeking to help those in need.
Spirituality is recognized as a key component of wellness and wholeness, and opportunity for prayer and pastoral support may be offered, but is never expected or demanded as a condition of inclusion. We celebrate diversity in all its forms, and will make extra effort to invite, involve and accommodate all persons.
We are committed, in all we do, to uphold the core values of the United Church of Canada as well as the following;
• Welcoming – We value being open and welcoming
• Caring Attitude – We value reaching out to those in need
• Dignity and Respect – We value treating everyone with dignity and respect
• Affirming – We value diversity and inclusion in all our programs to help improve the quality of life for those in need
• Collaboration - We value relationships and partnerships with people and organizations to enable a strong synergy
• Accountable – We value accountability for all our actions
• Transparent - We value transparency and open communications in all we do
We are a Registered Charity
The Mission is registered as a Charity under the Canada Revenue Agency
Registration number = 81665 9320 RR0001
We are Donation-Based
The Mission does receive a grant from the United Church, and some government support for one of our programs (Trusteeship). We also have some income from parking and building rental.
But we could not begin to accomplish our work without the countless donations of individuals who support our work through donations and fundraising.
Monetary donations comprise a critical portion of our budget, but we also receive donations of goods, everything from food to clothing to office furniture; and donations of time, including front line volunteers, Board members, carpenters and web-designers.
If we could put a dollar value on goods donated and volunteer hours, then . . .the Mission receives over a million dollars in donations every year! That’s why we can promise you that every cash dollar you donate is turned into more than five times the value.
See Annual Report(s) for more information about our income and expenses.
We are Volunteer-Based
The Brunswick Street Mission does have a small handful of paid staff positions – primarily to complete tasks that require a consistent person (like recruiting and training volunteers). But in the course of a typical year, several hundred people give their time and expertise to help making a difference.
Many volunteers are involved briefly on projects, such as a fundraising event. Many are part of a different organization like the youth groups who offer paint and repairs each summer. And some form the backbone of our work: the "regular" volunteer.
The "regular" volunteer commits to a longer period of involvement, and brings or receives training to provide specific types of supports and services. Regular volunteers include Board members, and almost all of our front-line services. When you come to the Mission, it is almost always a volunteer you will meet first.
Visit our volunteer page if you are interested in volunteering.
What we do
The Mission aims primarily to address concerns related to poverty and homelessness.
Most of our programs are designed to alleviate the "symptoms" of poverty, but we also work in partnership with others to identify and address the root causes of poverty. Through the United Church of Canada, we actively promote the concepts of social justice - we encourage you to visit: www.united-church.ca/justice to learn more.
Visit our Programs page to learn more about our services in general, or visit "need help" if you are looking for something specific.
Making a Difference
We serve those who struggle with poverty. Some are homeless, others are at risk of homelessness. There are individuals, couples, and families with children. Some work, others are on assistance, and others on disability or pension support. Their backgrounds are incredibly varied but they have in common that their present day is a struggle, and their future does not hold much promise.
Some conditions seem almost synonymous with poverty; mental illness, addictions, physical disabilities, criminal record, and violence are harsh everyday realities. Survival alone can take all one's energy.
But resourcefulness, resiliency, dignity, hope and humour are also everyday conditions, and with some support and a second (and third and fourth...) chances, many of our participants can hope for a better future. Or at least a more tolerable present.
Each year, we serve over 15,000 breakfasts, provide $20,000 in crisis support, help 150 people prevent homelessness through Trusteeship, and provide food for hundreds and clothing for thousands.
But equally as important, the Mission provides a unique opportunity to the community we serve; a place to find help when you need it, a place to offer help for others when you are able, and a place of hope, dignity and respect. A place where wellness can begin.
That's a pretty big difference!
The Brunswick Street Mission
2107 Brunswick Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Canada B3K 2Y4
Phone: 902 423 4605
Fax: 902 423 4838