The Centre of Hope was created to help homeless and underemployed individuals in the community overcome barriers through professional assistance, support and advocacy. Executive Director, Amanda Holloway, joined Russell Thomas on IMPACT to recount her experiences with the centre.
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Originally from rural Newfoundland, Amanda was first introduced to the Centre of Hope in 2006 when she moved to Fort McMurray as a practicum student in social work.
“I handed out my resumes everywhere and I remember walking by the Centre of Hope, and at that time [the logo] was the two hands and a coffee cup in the middle, and I thought ‘that’s got to be something social work-y’,” said Amanda.
After dropping off her resume, she landed an interview and knew the centre was the right fit for her.
“I fell absolutely, head over heels in love with the agency,” said Amanda. “What it stands for, the work it does in the community, and with the patrons who call the Centre of Hope home.”
The Centre of Hope is Fort McMurray’s only daytime drop in centre for individuals living in homelessness or at risk of homelessness.
“We’re open 365 days of year and offer an array of supports and services designed for meeting people no matter where they are in their life at this moment,” said Amanda.
The Centre offers intake services including warm showers, a laundry facility, personal hygienic items and clean clothing. They also have an outreach program which offers individuals access to medical appointments, help with obtaining identification, and much more.
United Way support helps enable the Centre of Hope to offer both the intake and outreach services to its patrons.
“United Way has been a vital and continued supporter of the Centre of Hope for quite some time,” said Amanda. “I honestly don’t know what we would do without the United Way and their belief in us, their belief in the programs we offer, and their belief that we can help change the community.”
Another vital element to the Centre of Hope is the generosity of the community. And the winter months rapidly approaching, the centre is accepting donations of seasonally appropriate clothing.
“As you’re getting ready to change out your wardrobes or restock your closets with your winter items, if there’s something there that you no longer need, we gladly accept donations of seasonally appropriate clothing.”
Items can be dropped off directly to the Centre of Hope any day of the week.
“The individuals living in homelessness in these streets are no different than you and I, it could be anybody,” said Amanda. “They’re experiencing something in their moment right now; it’s not who they are, it’s just a part of what they’re experiencing presently in their lives.”
The Centre of Hope is located at the corner of Franklin Avenue and McLeod Street. It is open daily from 8:30 am to 4 pm.