[Hpn] Where did all the money go !!!!

Janine Larose janinelarose@hotmail.com
Sat, 08 Oct 2005 15:08:56 +0000


After receiving millions $ from the Canadian federal government, The Old 
Brewery is cutting services.

The Montreal Gazette, October 7, 2005

Irwin Block

FREE COFFEE FIRST CASUALTY IN BATTLE TO CURB MISSION'S $864,000 DEFICIT

It's part of the new order of things at the Old Brewery Mission - no more 
free coffee.

A month ago, the mission on Clark St. began offering patrons free tea with 
their meal, while charging 65 cents for a cup of java.

It's all part of a program to cut burgeoning costs as Quebec's biggest 
shelter for the homeless faces a deficit of $864,000 for the fiscal year 
ending in March.

But the mission is not about to turn away the city's hungry and homeless, 
executive director James Hughes said yesterday.

'There is no risk the Old Brewery Mission is going to close its doors - 
zero-per-cent chance', Hughes told concerned staffers.

The mission, founded in 1889, served 271,408 meals last year and offered 
beds to 458 people a night at three pavillions.

A total of 336 men bed down every night at its main pavilion on Clark St. 
near St. Antoine St. and seven to nine employees are needed overnight to 
ensure the environment remains safe and secure.

The mission has had deficits for the past five years, but has managed to 
absorb them by dipping into a special reserve fund that in the late 1990s 
totalled bout $5 million in investments and savings.

Now, facing the increased number of patrons and the higher costs that winter 
brings, the mission is awaiting a reply from the Quebec government to a 
request to increase its per-client grant of $8.58 for 150 of the 458 beds it 
offers homeless men and women.  The mission's fundraising efforts cover the 
cost of the remaining 308 beds.

The per-client cost to the mission is $24.28 a night.  Donations from such 
traditional supporters as the Molson Foundation, the J.WcConnell Foundation, 
the R.B. Webster Foundation, Imperial Tobacco and other contributors have 
covered costs.

The mission took over the 150 beds for the homeless that the city of 
Montreal had operated at its Dernier Recours hostel on Sanguinet St.  That 
shelter closed n 1991.

The Old Brewery's projected deficit is just slightly less than the 
additional cost to finance these beds.

The city of Montreal has refused to add to its $100,000 annual grant, but is 
ready to help press Quebec to increase its commitment, city hall 
spokesperson Darren Becker said.

In July, the mission explained the problem to Margaret Delisle, the 
provincial minister responsible fo rehabilitation, but is still waiting for 
a response.  Delisle will reply 'before winter sets in,' her spokesperson, 
Nathalie Gélinas, said from Quebec City.

In the meantime, the mission will not reduce the quality of food but will 
look at cutting the number of beds and the number of meals it serves.

About 100 people are employed at the mission's main pavilion, women's 
shelter and the Maison Roger Beaulieu transition house.

They make between $8.58 and $15.70 an hour.

The mission also runs Camp Chapleau, offering 700 women and children from 
poor families a vacation in the country.

It also operates a bus that offers hot soup to street people.

You can write Irwin Block at

iblock@thegazette.canwest.com