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  • Writer's pictureWest Island News

Bread & Beyond's Essential Boxes ease the transition from homelessness to housed

Image courtesy of Old Brewery Mission

Left to right, front row: Georges Ohana, Director of Psychosocial Community Support and Research, and James Hughes, CEO of the Old Brewery Mission Left to right, back row: Kirstie Jagoe, Founder of Bread and Beyond, and Gigi Hogg, Bread and Beyond volunteer

With World Homelessness Day coming up this Sunday, Bread & Beyond is joining forces with the Old Brewery Mission to launch Essential Boxes. This initiative provides people experiencing homelessness with a starter kit of basic items for when they settle into their new homes. The idea for the Essential Boxes was born of a series of conversations between Bread & Beyond founder Kirstie Jagoe and friends looking to help people who were moving into a home after experiencing homelessness. “We appreciate how difficult it is in the first few days after moving for anyone, let alone a person who is actively rebuilding their life—we wanted to ease that transition as much as possible,” she says. At the Old Brewery Mission, expanding housing services for Montreal’s homeless men and women is a priority.

“The Old Brewery Mission has evolved over the last 15 years, shifting to a housing-focused model and working to significantly expand our housing stock and at-home support services over the next five years,”

- Old Brewery Mission CEO James Hughes.

“But it’s not enough to hand over a set of keys; some people need ongoing support from our team to stay housed. Grassroots initiatives like Bread & Beyond’s help us to do that. It’s an incredible boost, for us and those receiving these essential items. We’re very grateful for their support.” The Old Brewery Mission’s innovative approach rapidly moves people out of homelessness and into stable, affordable housing with ongoing support to ensure they remain housed. And, it’s working. A full 96% of previously homeless people who took part in the Mission’s housing programs are in their own apartment and reintegrated back into society. Bread & Beyond is also aiming to entice local businesses to help produce and distribute 20 Essential Boxes per month to people experiencing homelessness through the Old Brewery Mission and other homeless-serving organizations in Montreal. Bread and Beyond hopes to provide a consistent supply of Essential Boxes and continue working with the Old Brewery Mission’s rehousing and at-home support team. “Our residents are so impressed with the quality of the items in these Essential Boxes and have given them a chance to stock their shelves and develop a sense of pride and belonging in their new home,” says Georges Ohana, Director of Psychosocial Community Support and Research at Old Brewery Mission. About Bread & Beyond

Bread & Beyond is a Montreal-based registered charity that works to connect local communities with organizations that serve people in a homeless or vulnerable situation in Montreal. Through the making and delivery of fresh, nutritious sandwiches, creates a channel through which the voices and changing needs of those living with homelessness and hunger can be expressed, and through which the community can connect, become informed, and respond. In close collaboration with shelters, Bread & Beyond coordinates the collection of essential items such as seasonal clothing and supplies for rehousing clients. They also work to raise public awareness with the aim of challenging the stigma and disconnection frequently directed towards people experiencing homelessness. Follow Bread & Beyond on Facebook and Instagram at @teambreadandbeyond. Its website will be launched later this fall. About the Old Brewery Mission

Founded in 1889, the Old Brewery Mission is the largest resource in Quebec for homeless men and the largest in Canada for homeless women. It provides a range of programs and services at the forefront of the pursuit to end chronic homelessness. These include enhanced emergency services, physical and mental health programs, housing and psychosocial support services, as well as research and public awareness initiatives that contribute to a better understanding of homelessness as a solvable social problem.

Learn more at

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