The Gateway of Hope has been open for five years and the facilityâ€™s birthday party Dec. 2 was a chance to showcase coming changes.
The milestone was a chance to bring together all those who helped bring about Gateway and tell about the ways Gateway wants to improve.
Local and provincial politicians, businesspeople and folks from community groups gathered with the staff to enjoy an anniversary luncheon prepared by some of the people whoâ€™ve benefited by Gateway programs and services.
â€œIt does not seem possible that is has been operating for five years already. I commend the Salvation Army for their dedication and hard work on behalf of our marginalized citizens,â€ said Langley MLA Mary Polak.
Education Minister Peter Fassbender was at the anniversary. He was mayor of Langley City during the planning and construction and noted how the community came together to make the facility a reality.
â€œWe supplied the building, but the Salvation Army put the heart in it,â€ he said, adding â€œI feel so fortunate to be a part of this journey.â€
The facility offers an emergency shelter as well as life skills and jobs training, services to needy families, school supplies, a greenhouse, counselling and more. There are even programs to help people fill out their tax returns, and two doctors and a nurse practitioner provide medical care there twice a week.
Despite all it offers, the staff want to do more and launched a strategic planning process, gathering input from stakeholders including users. Gateway is also seeking donations to accomplish the changes.
There will be some capital improvements to make the facility more homey and welcoming.
Services and programs will shift a bit to make better use of the space. Another change will be increasing the connections with the community.
In the new year, Gateway which already works with the Kwantlen Polytechnic University horticulture program, welcomes A Rocha Canada, a Christian environmental group. Gateway, KPU and A Rocha will work together on rooftop gardens.