The Main Street Project 5 Year Strategic Plan was developed with considerable internal and external input. It identifies a renewed mission and vision and identifies core values to guide our work over the next five years. It further identifies specific objectives and goals that we are committed to acting upon during this period of time.
Our mission: To provide safe and welcoming places of respite and healing with services that aim to reduce harm for people experiencing homelessness, substance use, and/or mental health challenges while working collaboratively to achieve measurable success in the journey to end homelessness.
Our vision: A community in which everyone has access to a safe space where dignity, respect, and self-determination are supported
Our core values: Reducing harm, trauma-informed, reconciliation, and anti-oppression.
We aim to address four key objectives, with specific goals and tasks for each objective, over the next five years:
Objective One: Advance the Implementation of Harm Reduction; Objective Two: Prevent and End Homelessness; Objective Three: Further Embrace and Support truth & Reconciliation, Decolonization and Anti-Oppression; and Objective Four: Strengthen the Organization by Improving Infrastructure, Technology, and Processes
During the time period of this strategic plan, Main Street Project will realize its 50th anniversary of service. We have been a mainstay in the community throughout our history, augmenting and growing our services based upon community needs. Our roots were anchored in harm reduction before the phrase or concept was made popular, meeting vulnerable people wherever they are at literally and circumstantially. We have been providing services and programs that meet immediate needs, connect people to solutions to their homelessness, and assisting people living with compromised mental wellness, substance use, and a litany of other health conditions from brain injuries to chronic disease. Our job is not to heal or fix people; it is to serve people without judgment, meet immediate needs, and provide hope so that people can realize a self-determined, autonomous version of who they are and who they want to be. It is our privilege to serve others, not their privilege to be served by us.
In the beginning, we provided a safe space for people who used alcohol, experienced housing instability, and needed a place to come inside, during Winnipeg weather events. While our programs and services have evolved, and the population of people we serve has expanded in diversity and volume, the core of our existence remains strong. We are a harm reducing, multi-service agency and we are proud of the many lives we have had the honour to positively impact, and are humbled to have provided witness to the resiliency and strengths of thousands of people in need. We don’t see homelessness, substance use or mental illness as a problem to be solved; we see people with potential.
We acknowledge that we have been imperfect as an organization. We have work to do to build trust, improve the implementation of evidence-informed and evidence-based services, effectively measure what we do, and grow and expand partnerships with other organizations in the community. We need to diversify our staff and board further. We need to be critical of what we do to make necessary improvements, and be open to change. There is no shortage of work we know needs to be done, from updating and creating internal policies and procedures to asset management; from supporting access to primary care to decreasing demands on emergency services in the community through our outreach programming and overdose response. We are ready to embrace the challenges and opportunities of strengthening our organization and improving our service outcomes.
One of our biggest shortcomings has been our work with Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous organizations. We are not, and have no plans to be an Indigenous organization. However, we acknowledge and embrace that the vast majority of people that use our services have Indigenous identity. Some are well connected to culture and a home community, while others are not. To strengthen our role as allies, it is incumbent upon us to ensure all of our services are culturally appropriate, that our staff and board has more Indigenous representation, and that we are sufficiently trained and implementing culturally appropriate practices. We accept that we need to be more trauma-informed to better meet the needs and form meaningful relationships and rapport with Indigenous Peoples that have been impacted by colonial history and settlement, Residential Schools, the 60s Scoop, at times inadequate or unsafe housing and water and food security, and intergenerational trauma. We need to be better supporters and advocates for Indigenous issues that impact the people we serve. We need to be better partners with Indigenous organizations that excel in their service orientation and service delivery. We need to apologize for past wrongs, learn from those mistakes so as to never repeat them again, and advance the practices of reconciliation, decolonization and anti-oppression.
If you’d like to read the rest of the plan or the summary, click the links below!