Mustard Seed opens Student Missional Housing downtown
For the second year in a row, The Mustard Seed has been running a Student Missional Housing program where students live in residency with the homeless. Patrick, who remains partially anonymous in fear of stigma, says he believes the program has been good for the residents that live there.
“I’m pretty happy with the way they have all interacted with people. They genuinely are interested in (you) and listen to you,” he said.
The Mustard Seed provides subsidized housing to help the homeless get off of the streets. Patrick says he started residency after spending eight months in the shelter after leaving his home due to unaffordable rent.
“I was living on porridge three times a day. I finally broke down, and I had heard about the Mustard Seed,” he said. “I put on my rattiest clothes, didn’t shower for a couple of days, didn’t shave and stood in the lineup. I got a tap on the shoulder and the guy behind me said, ‘don’t worry, it gets easier,’” Patrick laughed adding, “I thought, ‘am I that obvious?’”
While in the shelter, Patrick was admitted entrance into subsidized
Photo by Dayla Brownhousing at the Seeds’ downtown location. He pays low rent and builds community with fellow homeless people and with students. Carmen Britton is one university student who lives there.
“Everyone upstairs is so welcoming, I would have never expected it. I always thought like, ‘well, what would they want to talk to me about? I’m just some university student, like what would we have in common?” Britton said.
Britton is a third-year university student at University of Calgary taking community rehab. She said she found the program through a youth pastor, and decided to get involved.
“The residents are great here. Last year it was kind of late here and I had to walk to the train station and one man that I had met maybe a couple of times offered to walk me to the station, he didn’t want me to go by myself,” Britton said.
Britton spends time with the homeless residents on the weekends, hosting one to two events. The program is geared towards low rent for students and hostel-style living. The program allows an opportunity for students to gain volunteer experience, while helping the less fortunate.
“It’s really good to get to know some of these people, maybe even make lasting friendships,” Britton said.