New Siloam laundry van means more jobs for those experiencing homelessness

A new van at Siloam mission is creating more jobs for Winnipeg’s most vulnerable population.

The commercial vehicle was donated to the homeless shelter by brothers Dan and Josh Chisick of Industrial Metals.

“We’re very proud to be a part of this program,” said Dan. “We’re moved by an email we saw only months ago to take part in this initiative and make their dream real.”

The van is being used to expand Siloam’s social enterprise laundry program, which started in December 2019. The service takes care of all the shelter’s laundry needs and has done laundry for other homeless shelters.

“Our biggest barrier in getting new clients to expand this program … is that we couldn’t do pick up and delivery,” said Siloam Mission CEO Tessa Blaikie Whitecloud.

Now the service can expand out to other types of businesses. Whitecloud says that means more employment opportunities for people in need.

“A big part of what we do here is try to make sure that people have access to the opportunities that they need to transform their own lives,” she said. “And a huge piece of that is employment through our building futures program.

“One of the things that’s so exciting about this program, and the great work that our team, Charles and Greg do in that program is that they make sure that people who might normally struggle with keeping employment know that they are valued, know that they are capable and believe in them until people believe in themselves. And this transforms people’s lives and offers them great opportunities. And then we see them move from employment with us to employment with hotels or other spaces that might be doing laundry or maybe even not laundry.”

Siloam was in the process of fundraising to buy the van before it was donated. It now plans to use those funds to hire more staff, expand the business, and attract new laundry clients.

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