In a nurturing atmosphere of home and family, Our Place serves Victoria, British Columbia’s most vulnerable: people who are addicted and homeless, the working poor, those who are mentally and physically challenged, and impoverished elderly people. This remarkable inner-city centre relates to the people who use it as family members, not clients, with an emphasis on creating a compassionate, caring community.
Our Place tends to its family members’ physical needs, serving over 1,600 meals a day and providing hot showers, clothing, health care, and an overdose prevention site. It also cares for people’s spiritual needs. “For people who live on the streets, there is a lot of grief and death,” says Grant McKenzie, a staff member. “We need to be able to connect with people on a spiritual level.”
In 2017, Our Place hired a First Nations spiritual leader who can better connect the centre to the 30 percent of its members who identify as Indigenous. Don Beacham is a Cree man from Norway House reserve in Manitoba who is steeped in Indigenous spiritual teachings and traditions. He connects with the Indigenous population through hosting healing circles and smudges, through drumming and song, and through his warm, caring presence. With the smudges, he says, “people feel lighter” because “they know they are cherished, cared for, and prayed for in that moment.”
With your support, Our Place Society is able to focus on creating sacred and healing community.
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