The Ann Davis Outreach Centre is now open at 46230 Yale Rd. and will be open Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A recent grand opening ceremony was held, where executive director Patti MacAhonic was joined by a few selected guests, including Dionne McGrath, who performed aboriginal singing, drumming and cleansing of the space. (Image from Ann Davis)

The Ann Davis Outreach Centre is now open at 46230 Yale Rd. and will be open Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A recent grand opening ceremony was held, where executive director Patti MacAhonic was joined by a few selected guests, including Dionne McGrath, who performed aboriginal singing, drumming and cleansing of the space. (Image from Ann Davis)

New outreach office downtown Chilliwack will connect vulnerable people to resources

Staff and dignitaries celebrated as office space officially opened for business

Chilliwack’s Ann Davis Transition Society has pivoted, turning their thrift store location into a new outreach office where they will serve the most vulnerable in the community.

They celebrated the opening last week with a small gathering at the site, including aboriginal drumming and singing by Dionne McGrath, and guests including Mayor Ken Popove, RCMP Superintendent Bryon Massie, and Carol Lees, the vice president of Ann Davis. They joined the society’s workers in the physically distant celebration.

“We’re really excited today,” said Patti MacAhonic, executive director of Ann Davis. “We want to make sure everyone who comes here is welcome and nobody is turned away. You can feel safe and you can feel welcome.”

There are many services now available to the public through the outreach office, which is located at 46230 Yale Rd. and will be open Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

MacAhonic says there will be two outreach workers, an emergency mental health counsellor, and one day a week there will be a legal advocate on hand to provide services. Services include help with ID replacement, safe housing referrals, counselling and legal advocacy, clothing requisitions, a bad date reporting program, safety planning, harm reduction supplies and a planned outreach day with access to food, resources, and referrals.

“We’re so excited to have a designated, safe place for people to come to,” MacAhonic said.

The funding for the change from thrift store to outreach centre was largely made possible by one very successful fundraiser.

“A heartfelt thank you goes out to the community of Chilliwack who supported the Coldest Night of the Year walk, the City of Chilliwack and our local MP for the Reaching Home grant, as well as the Canadian Women’s Foundation who have made this important community resource available, the community support and collaboration has been tremendous, it is apparent that Chilliwack as a community truly does care,” MacAhonic said.

The workers at the site have various ways of connecting with the people who need their services, including outreach on the streets themselves. Both Massie and Popove said the location is going to help the most vulnerable.

“This location, in the heart of the downtown, is going to be something that is going to be well-received to get these folks on the street to actually talk to people, and point them in the proper direction to get the help required,” Popove said.

The thrift store is now being run as a virtual store.

Ann Davis Transition Society’s vision is to see communities free of violence and abuse. For more information call 604-792-2760, or visit www.anndavis.org, where there is also a link to their virtual thrift store.

READ MORE: ‘Coldest Night’ walk raises nearly $60,000 for new Ann Davis outreach office in Chilliwack

READ MORE: Safe houses now pet friendly at Ann Davis Transition Society facilities in Chilliwack


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

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