The Boyle Street Eats food truck at the Fringe Festival in 2018. Paula E. Kirman
Boyle Street Community Services is helping people find employment and earn money. As well, the agency is providing access to banking services since many of their workers are “unbanked” or “underbanked.”
The program, called Boyle Street Ventures Inc. (BSV), offers jobs in areas such as property maintenance, cleaning, moving, snow removal, and junk removal. The workers go out with on-site supervisors who provide training and ensure that the jobs are done well.
“Many who come to us are so defeated, have faced too many hurdles, and are in the last chapter,” says Bob Frohlich, relationship manager at BSV. Thanks to this program, there are “lots of success stories,” Frohlich says. “One of the employees, who was homeless when she came to work here, has become a crew lead who drives a vehicle, owns a horse, has a home, and is here every day.”
“We even have a food truck,” Frohlich adds. It is a 1971 vehicle that was out of service for much of summer 2019, but it has been repaired and at the time of writing was preparing to work at several golf tournaments. The service operates in partnership with the Nook Café, which provides the food.
The BSV bank, Four Directions Financial, is a branch of ATB Financial. It functions like any other bank branch and anyone can use it, not just BSCS clients. It was created to serve people “who may not be comfortable using mainstream services,” Frohlich says.
The branch currently has 1,300 customers. “Before, when our clients got cheques, they headed for a place like Money Mart, cashed the cheque, and either spent all the money very quickly or even had it stolen,” Frohlich says.
Banking is made accessible through minimal ID requirements or if necessary a retinal scan or thumbprint. “Often ID is not necessary,” Frohlich says, “because we know them by name.”
For details about hiring through Boyle Street Ventures, go to hiregood.ca or call 780-426-0500. The profits from this for-profit social enterprise are invested back into Hiregood and the community.
For information about the Four Directions Financial bank branch, go to www.atb.com under the Community tab.
The BSV bank, Four Directions Financial, is a branch of ATB Financial. It functions like any other bank branch and anyone can use it, not just BSCS clients.
Boyle Street Community Services’ (boylestreet.org) central office at 10116 – 105 Avenue provides over 40 programs and services to over 12,000 individuals every year. It is a non-denominational and non-profit organization that welcomes and serves people of all ages, backgrounds, and orientations. Eighty percent of people currently served are Indigenous, and 80-85% are men between ages 35 and 55.
Some of the areas this agency deals with are:
Boyle Street Community Services has been working in the inner city of Edmonton since 1971. Its goal is to serve, support, and empower people to take control of their lives and escape the cycle of poverty and homelessness.
There are close to 400 staff working in nine centres around the city. Their roles include reception, accounting/recordkeeping, social work, and more.
Anita Jenkins is a retired writer and editor who lives in Boyle Street.