Skip to content

More reductions coming to Royal City Mission’s hours

The downtown charity will see a significant reduction in drop-in hours and mealtimes
Royal City Mission

More reductions are in store for Royal City Mission’s services at the end of the month as municipal funding runs out. 

Since reducing hours in January, the downtown charity offers drop-in hours from noon to 7 p.m., seven days a week. 

But starting April 28, there will be a 24 hour reduction to services: drop-in will be open from Wednesday to Sunday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Meals are currently offered at RCM at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. every day. That will change to once a day at 6 p.m. from Wednesday through Sunday as well. 

“I’m sad for our community. I’m worried. To cut back on a couple days and even a meal, it’s going to impact hugely,” RCM executive director and pastor Kevin Coghill told GuelphToday. “I’m just not sure what I can do at this point.”

He said they chose to remain open Wednesdays through Sundays because those are the days with the biggest service gaps.

“When we’re open we want to make sure we’re doing the most with our money,” he said. 

Last year, RCM received one-time additional funding of $250,000 to support extended operating hours through 2023. In November, council agreed to extend the funding until the end of March, while rejecting a request for funding to cover 12 hours every day throughout 2024. 

The mission will maintain those hours through April, relying on community donations “to make sure that the cold weather is all covered. But after that, we just don’t have enough,” Coghill said. 

In terms of how much funding they would need to get back to their previous service levels, he said it’s hard to say, since the community donations they rely on every month vary, especially since donations are typically lower in the summer. 

If they were to continue with current service levels without the municipal funding and with current projected donations, they would be $200,000 short at the end of the year. But if community partners come forward to support funding, Coghill said they could reinstate the hours and mealtimes as soon as possible. 

RCM only started offering meal service seven days a week after receiving the additional municipal funding. Before, it was five days a week. 

“Since COVID we’ve bounced all over the place, trying to fill whatever gaps necessary. Last year was the first year we opened (for) significantly extra time with two meals a day. And for a short time we were (doing) three meals a day with support from Hope House.”

“We’re kind of going back to pre-pandemic hours and meals,” he said. 

But we’re far from a pre-pandemic level of need. 

Throughout 2023, RCM served more than 80,000 meals with over 52,000 visits to the drop-in program. In December, the number of meals served was up by 37 per cent compared to the year prior. Coghill said they’ve already seen a five per cent increase in 2024. 

The cuts also come at a concerning time, he said. The County of Wellington recently received one-time federal funds to help unhoused people in Guelph and Wellington County get respite from the cold. That funding runs out at the end of April. 

“We’re not sure what that means when that funding is gone at... the same time we’re closing,” he said. 

“We’re willing to do whatever we can with whatever resources we have,” he said. “If we have more resources, we’ll provide more services.” 

But for now, “May looks pretty bad.” 


Verified reader

If you would like to apply to become a verified commenter, please fill out this form.

Taylor Pace

About the Author: Taylor Pace

Read more