Siloam Mission is a Winnipeg mainstay — providing hope, shelter and support for people experiencing homelessness since 1987.
Throughout the day Friday, 680 CJOB has been highlighting some of the stories that have come out of Siloam’s decades of community dedication as part of the Stories of Hope radiothon.
Siloam’s director of development, Kathi Neal, said the strong support the organization continues to receive from the community is a testament to Manitobans’ charitable nature.
“I think Manitobans should really really be proud because we do show our sense of community,” said Neal.
“Even during difficult times we dig in and we help those in need, and I know that’s something that makes me really proud to be a Manitoban.
“Siloam is able to do the work it does mainly because of our donors. Last year… almost 90 per cent of the work we did was totally funded by individuals, corporations and foundations, and that is just amazing.
“What that means for people living in homelessness is they can come to us and we can walk with them on their journey.”
One person who has experienced Siloam’s services from both sides is Ron Bodhan — a former client of the mission who has since recovered from the addictions that left him on the street, and now supports Siloam by speaking about his lived experience.
“It’s been over 10 years since I was homeless. Life is good today. I have family, I have people in my life who love me and who understand,” said Bodhan.
“I just found myself homeless due to a combination of addiction, mental health issues, childhood trauma… Siloam Mission was there for me. At the start it was just a bed and a meal, (followed by) gaining trust and trusting the staff that worked there.
“If it wasn’t for Siloam, for the people who support Siloam so that Siloam can help people like me, I wouldn’t be here today… and for that I’m eternally grateful.”
Bodhan said before he experienced homelessness himself, he didn’t give much thought to that community — and many Winnipeggers likely have the wrong idea about it.
“I do think that a lot of people get it wrong. Back years ago, I was the same way: ‘Get a job and suck it up’… but that’s not the way it is. I was so wrong.”
Siloam’s communications manager Luke Thiessen told 680 CJOB that people from all walks of life can be affected by homelessness and need a helping hand.
“Many people come to our doors in different circumstances and need different types of help, different amounts of help,” he said.
“For those who need that help, wherever they’re at, if they need that hand up, that’s what Siloam is there for.
“Whether it’s just a bed and a meal for a time when people are at their lowest, whether it’s some practical getting a job, getting an apartment. That’s what Siloam is there for, and we see the proof of that in the success stories.”
The radiothon raised a total of $64,403 for Siloam Mission.