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‘Really looked at how we could heal veterans’: Cambridge Freedom Centre gets affirmation from public consultation

An artist rendering of the Freedom Centre behind the Preston Church of Nazarene on Hamilton Street.An artist rendering of the Freedom Centre behind the Preston Church of Nazarene on Hamilton Street.

Freedom Centre board members mentioned a current public session affirmed what they already suspected of their Preston challenge: they have been heading in the right direction.

With plans for an $8-million, three-storey group centre and non permanent residing house for veterans and former RCMP officers struggling to reintegrate into society — set for building behind Preston Church of the Nazarene on Hamilton Road — the board had college social work college students use their placement time for group engagement and developmental work.

You are reading: ‘Really looked at how we could heal veterans’: Cambridge Freedom Centre gets affirmation from public consultation

That meant going door-to-door within the neighbourhood and gathering feedback on digital codecs.

The aim of the group canvassing was to garner perceived group wants, assess the group’s notion of veterans and provides neighbours details about the centre’s imaginative and prescient and plans.

In accordance with the general public session report, “most” respondents have been between the age of 30 and 70 and have been both employed or retired.

Neighborhood members have been requested to judge areas of wants and the way they’ve been addressed locally.

“The thrust was that when we’ve got a group centre up and operating, was this one thing the place we have been going to find out what the group wished or have been we going to ask the group what they thought the wants have been?” mentioned Rosemary Redshaw, Freedom Centre co-ordinator and affiliate pastor on the Preston Church of the Nazarene.

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Neighborhood members have been requested to evaluate which social companies required essentially the most assist within the space. Forty-seven per cent of respondents mentioned housing wanted essentially the most assist locally, with 39 per cent saying psychological well being, 34 per cent saying meals safety, 33 per cent saying substance use and restoration, and 19 per cent saying recreation and social applications.

These tick all of the packing containers for the Freedom Centre, Redshaw mentioned.

“There wasn’t quite a lot of huge aha moments, besides it was actually fascinating to see that the group was very involved about housing general, as a result of we all know that the Metropolis of Cambridge is admittedly taking a look at inexpensive housing. So, there was a terrific alignment there,” Redshaw mentioned.

“We can be offering a really distinctive kind of service. There isn’t a short-term supportive housing for veterans in Ontario.”

A query about veterans was essentially the most very important within the session as the ten non permanent third-floor residing quarters has been the centre of controversary for the reason that Freedom Centre challenge was offered to the group in early 2021.

“That is the place the primary city corridor assembly went actually off the rails,” Redshaw mentioned.

Some neighbours believed the third flooring would turn out to be a midway home or habit centre, and veterans affected by PTSD would make the neighbourhood unsafe.

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What the session revealed, nonetheless, is most respondents have been “compassionate and caring” and wished extra may very well be completed for veterans. Some even recommended the main focus of the centre be stored solely across the wants of veterans.

“We had actually checked out how we might heal veterans,” Redshaw mentioned.

“We did really feel that for them to reintegrate into group safely, and that is what the entire subject is, that is why they’re in disaster, as that reintegration piece must be completed inside group, not exterior of group. So, having a group centre on them and embracing them, truly, we felt was affirmed by the examine’s that had gone on.”

The rest of the session included interviews with veterans, in addition to interviews with veteran service suppliers and the evaluation of veteran well being intervention literature to supply concerns for program partnerships. A youth impression survey was additionally performed to present board members an thought of wants for the primary two flooring of the constructing.

With the session completed, Redshaw mentioned the board is able to discuss to challenge managers about the associated fee “to take us to the following step.”

“It was little or no cash to get us so far. However now we’re on the level the place we are saying, OK, now we’re into the fundraising. What do we have to do at this time limit?”


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