Community Champions

The images below are of a number of recent community champions that took it upon themselves to do good for others less fortunate than they are. All of these champions are showcased on our Facebook page. And we want to point out the obvious: they are young people who care about their community!
If you don’t visit that page, please take a look and celebrate with us the accomplishments of these wonderful people.

CLICK HERE FOR OUR FACEBOOK PAGE.

Revitalizing our Community

At Bissell Centre, we want to ensure that we’re doing all that we can to enhance the quality of life for all who live, work and frequent the McCauley Area, where we’ve been based since 1910.
Part of our commitment is playing a role in helping to revitalize our community, making it a cleaner and more accommodating place for everyone.

Revitalization

We pay attention to what happens in our community and our city in order to be the best neighbours that we can. The McCauley Revitalization Strategy, which took shape a couple of years ago, has allowed us to continually focus on our role in improving our community. Cleanliness was a key concern identified by all parties who helped in the formation of the strategy.

For us, this provided an amazing opportunity…

With grant funding becoming available through the City of Edmonton, we’re proud to say that we were successful in recruiting a Clean Streets Coordinator! The Clean Streets Coordinator will be able to hire teams of people who are registered in our Casual Labour Program. It will assist us to work with businesses, individuals and other agencies in the community to make our streets and public spaces cleaner and safer.

Helping to revitalize the community, support those looking for work, enhancing our role in developing our community and working to eliminating poverty by empowering people…its part of what we do!

Bissell Centre holds its 102nd Annual General Meeting!

On Thursday, July 27th, Bissell Centre held its 102nd Annual General Meeting where discussions centered on the 2012-2013 Annual Report, the CEO Report, the new pilot program 24/7 MAP, and upcoming initiatives for the organization. Attendance included Homeward Trust, REACH Edmonton, The City of Edmonton, representatives from the Edmonton United Church Presbytery, Bissell Centre CEO Mark Holmgren, plus Board Members and Bissell Centre staff. 102nd Bissell Centre AGM June 27th, 2013 Read More…

What we need right now: Courageous Leadership

As the CEO of Bissell Centre, I am continually amazed by the number of people and organizations that care about the poor and the homeless. These people exist across all sectors. I sit with them at government tables, in corporate boardrooms, in the pews at church, in meetings with other non-profit leaders, or over coffee with friends at a café. Unfortunately I also meet people – thankfully fewer in number – that believe that, somehow, social and economic problems rest solely within individuals.  Or who judge the actions of groups like Bissell Centre as ineffective because the problems we exist to address still exist or are getting worse.
Housing the Homeless – a Useless Endeavor?
One individual told me recently that supporting Bissell Centre to house the homeless is a useless endeavor because we haven’t yet eradicated homelessness. In other words the 240 chronically homeless men, women and children we will house this year is a failure because we can’t help everyone who knocks on our door.

a-pullquote1I told this gentleman that I did not realize that housing 240 homeless people was a bad thing. I said I did not realize that addressing homelessness throughout our community was Bissell Centre’s responsibility. I guess I thought we were part of a greater effort to house the homeless. I guess I thought that homelessness is a societal issue with complex causality.  I guess I thought homelessness is a shared problem, not just the problem that organizations like Bissell Centre must resolve alone.

I pressed further into the conversation, not because I thought I could change this man’s mind, but rather to understand how he thinks, how people like him think. We talked for about an hour. We did not reach much common ground, but here are my observations and questions.

Homelessness is the Fault of the Homeless?
My counterpart told me that the government should stop wasting money on the homeless because it’s their fault they are on the street. Later he also said the government should cut taxes so that he had more money to fuel the economy as a consumer. I asked why he doesn’t just pull himself up by the bootstraps and make more money.  He waved me off and said helping the homeless won’t help the economy. Of course he is wrong, but just not prepared to be wrong. Read More…