Ally Klassen
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Spring is a time for fresh starts, and at Mission Possible, we’re eager to get started on ours! We really hope that by now you’ve heard the exciting news that Mission Possible is moving to a bigger, better location for us. Better yet, it’s just across the street so we will remain connected with the community we have already built. To get an insider’s peek at what the move means for Mission Possible, we sat down with Matt Smedley, Chief Empowerment Officer and Executive Director, to find out more.

Why does Mission Possible need to move?

Matt Smedley: Mission Possible has grown substantially since 2016 and we have had a record number of people in training and working in our social enterprises! We’ve been in our current building almost 10 years now, so we’ve run out of space, which challenges our growth and ability to reach the full potential of what we want to achieve in the community. This move signifies the success that we’ve had in employing people. We continue to deliver quality services and prove the fact that people in this community, although they may be challenged by poverty and other barriers to employment, are capable and able to work in dignified, meaningful jobs when given the right opportunities.

What are the benefits to the new building?

MS: The biggest benefit is more space, and what that allows us to do is actually bring our two different buildings together into one- currently we are separated into an office space on Hastings Street and an associate space on Princess Street. In the new building we will have all our associates coming into the same building as our coaches and staff every day, which will unify our team by deepening connections with the people who are in our program. However, to make this happen we need renovations, even as basic as putting up walls! We also need to work to make the space hospitable, to feel like a home, for those taking part in our program in order to welcome people into the new opportunities.

How does the money fundraised make an impact?

MS: The renovations are expensive because we’ve needed everything from soft costs like design work and permits to things like carpets, light fixtures, and paint. We’re not revamping the whole place but the little things add up! The money raised towards the move makes the impact of allowing us to do our jobs better and make a bigger difference in the Downtown Eastside. We’re so thankful for those who have pitched in so far. We’ve gotten support from a variety of sources, like trades people who have donated their time, and we’ve had some materials donated. It’s truly taken a village to get us this far.

What else is in the future for Mission Possible?

MS: Our goal is to double the number of individuals who are transitionally employed with us in the next three years, going from 85 individuals in 2019 to 165 individuals in 2022, which is a big goal but it’s doable if we continue to grow at this pace. Doubling the number of people employed will require both growth of what we’re currently doing but also new initiatives in the next couple years. We’re committed to continuing to change the employment landscape in the Downtown Eastside so more people can experience empowerment and reach a sustainable livelihood!

We hope this behind-the-scenes look at our new home in the making has been both interesting and clarifying! We invite you to learn more about this process here and stay tuned for updates. We hope to be operational in our new space by the end of March, 2020.