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‘It’s an awesome place’: businesses support Saint John men’s homeless shelter

Click to play video: 'Businesses ‘flow out’ of Saint John Outflow men’s homeless shelter' Businesses ‘flow out’ of Saint John Outflow men’s homeless shelter
An organization in Saint John that operates a men's shelter is expanding in a unique way. As Andrew Cromwell reports, it's now behind several businesses with the sole purpose of helping those in need. – Sep 12, 2019

An organization that operates a men’s shelter in Saint John is expanding in a good way.

Outflow started serving meals to the hungry 11 years ago, and it’s now behind several businesses with the sole purpose of helping those in need.

Catapult Construction is the first offshoot of Outflow. The organization found that it had to own its own businesses and give people work who might have trouble finding it. It’s an employment model that can and has changed lives.

“Coming in every day and being part of something, learning skills, being a member of a community is key to life-changing for people and getting back on track,” said Colin McDonald of the Catapult Training and Employment Centre.

WATCH (April 3, 2019): UNB nursing students attempting to care for the feet of the province’s homeless

Click to play video: 'UNB nursing students attempting to care for the feet of the province’s homeless' UNB nursing students attempting to care for the feet of the province’s homeless
UNB nursing students attempting to care for the feet of the province’s homeless – Apr 3, 2019

Jeremy Robinson manages the furniture shop. He is living out one of his passions in life, woodworking, and it just happens to be his job. But it always wasn’t like this. “I was one of the guys that was on the street when I just decided to move out when I was a teenager and thought I could do it on my own and essentially I was homeless”

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Robinson says he’s been there and can relate to people who come in with a background which includes prison, homelessness and drug addiction.

Another Catapult employee Dave Derrah can also relate. A life in and out of trouble with the law Derrah says Catapult has helped him with the sometimes crippling struggles of depression and anxiety.

“It has completely transformed my life and I see other people getting better here and stuff too like from when they first start and they progress,” said Derrah. “It’s an awesome place to be I’ll tell you that.”

Catapult has also launched a coffee shop and studio in Saint John’s uptown as well as a business selling creative handcrafts and another business making furniture.

Any profits go straight back into Outflow and where it all started.

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