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Letter to the Editors: One Roof Community Centre

Written by
One Roof Community Centre
and
and
November 14, 2022

This was submitted as a Letter to the Editors by staff members at One Roof Community Centre. Submit your own letters here.

Letter to the Editors: One Roof Community Centre
Photo via One Roof Community Centre

To Whom it May Concern,

Re: One Roof Community Center

It is with tremendous disappointment and genuine concern that we are writing this letter today. The news was recently shared that essential, lifesaving services provided by One Roof Community Centre will be discontinued between the hours of 9AM-1PM, effective immediately, despite the City of Peterborough recently declaring a state of emergency due to the housing and opioid crisis. The One Roof Community Centre provides resources and services to the over 200 unhoused people living in Nogojiwanong/Peterborough. We know that the housing crisis disproportionately affects women, gender diverse people and racialized people, and that the impacts of homelessness result in illness, violence and criminalization. In addition to supporting those without a home, One Roof Community Centre also supports those who are living in poverty; seniors, veterans, people with disabilities and exceptionalities, children and families. These are our neighbours. These are your neighbours. These are people who will experience direct harm as a result of this reduction of essential services. 

The services at One Roof Community Centre between the hours of 9AM and 1PM include; providing harm reduction, groceries, hygiene products, snack bags, and service navigation. During extreme weather, the morning drop-in provides refuge from the elements. The morning drop-in also provides human connection and combats social isolation. All of these services increase safety for individuals and the community as a whole. The provision of these services not only directly benefits the service users accessing these services, but also creates employment for members of this community. As front-line workers at One Roof Community Centre, we have proudly been serving some of the most vulnerable members of this community, alongside other front-line workers who have dedicated their time, compassion and skills to serving this population. The workers at One Roof Community Centre work tirelessly to support this community and one another. They work long hours, on short notice and cope with challenging, heart-breaking situations with immeasurable grace and humility. They do so without being provided benefits, paid sick leave, or a living wage but always with a smile on their face and unwavering commitment to ensuring a safer community for us all to enjoy. The current full time staff provided all the aforementioned services throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic with no increase in pay, though there was a substantial increase in risk. These workers are driven by ethics that guide them to put the well-being of others ahead of themselves. 

To thank them for their efforts our funders have offered a sudden decrease in hours without notice or reasonable explanation, nor direct communication. Instead, they have opted to charge a brand-new program coordinator with delivering this devastating news. This is beyond insulting; it is devaluing and dehumanizing. The choice to de-fund the morning drop-in was made without consultation with the workers supporting this community daily or the community members relying on these services. There has not been a clear line of communication established between workers and our funders, nor has there been adequate transparency or management of funds to ensure continuity of services and employment. Community Partners at The Elizabeth Fry Society have been hosting a Drop In during the afternoon to increase community connection between service users and service providers. When The Elizabeth Fry Society learned that the hours at ORCC were being defunded they stepped in to offer to staff the services at ORCC from 9AM-1PM. While this would not increase employment for ORCC staff, it would at least mitigate some of the risk for community members and help provide a continuity of services. Despite this costing zero dollars to our funders, our funders have opted not to allow our community partners to provide this life saving support. We want to be very clear that the choice to de-fund the drop in will result in loss of life, will increase risk for the community and will eliminate employment opportunities for workers. This is egregious and will cause direct harm to the Nogojiwanong/Peterborough Community. We are referring to our funders simply as funders because One Roof Community Centre staff have not been privy to how One Roof Community Centre is funded or managed. 

We are writing in hopes that members of this community will respond to this reduction of services and appeal to our funders to reconsider their short-sighted and harmful decision. 

Signed, 

Kristal Jones, One Roof Community Centre, Relief Staff and Founder of the EFRY@ORCC Drop-In

Morgan McNamee, One Roof Community Centre, Relief Floor Staff, former Full Time Supervisor

Madyson John-England, One Roof Community Centre, Relief Floor Staff

Jennifer Turtscher, One Roof Community Centre, Relief Floor Staff, former Full Time Floor Supervisor

Lindy Jones, One Roof Community Centre, Relief Staff, former One Roof Staff & Volunteer

Jodi Morris, One Roof Community Centre, Relief Floor Staff 

Ciara Neving, One Roof Community Centre, Full-time Floor Staff

Andy Guthrie, One Roof Community Centre, Relief Kitchen Supervisor

Martin Strunk, One Roof Community Centre, Kitchen Supervisor

Andi Borden, One Roof Community Centre, Relief Staff and former Full-time Floor Supervisor

Anton Selmeczi, One Roof Community Centre, Relief Floor Staff 

Cheyenne Buck, One Roof Community Centre, Full Time Floor Supervisor

Joshua Burnett, One Roof Community Centre, Relief Staff

Aurynn Jacobs Parkin, One Roof Community Centre, Full Time Kitchen Supervisor and Relief Staff

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