Reality Check

December 1, 2018 – Today is important to us at Hope Street because it is the official launch of the 5th Annual Coldest Night of the Year campaign which will be held on Saturday, Feb 23, 2019. This event has raised over $75,000.00 for Hope Street CMC in the past 4 years. The Coldest Night is a Canada-Wide event that will be held in 127+ locations all on Feb 23. From the East to the West, North to the South, thousands of Canadians will walk in support of local charities!  And Why??  Because it’s cold out there…

Saturday, December 1, 2018 was the second month that Hope Street has been responsible for the Saturday Meal at St. Barnabas. We have agreed to take care of the first Saturday of each month. On this day, we were unable to use the church building as the fellowship hall had been booked for another event. We served a bag lunch out of the back of the Hope Street CMC Cargo Trailer. For the start of December, the weather was not terrible but it did present some challenges as we served our lunch to our guests.

Hope Street Compassionate Ministry Centre - Medicine Hat- Dec 1, 2018 Weather

The weather wasn’t quite as cold as the picture shows at 3pm. It was -3C, snowing, cold, wet and there was a bit of wind blowing – I was quite uncomfortable. So the reality is that it WAS cold out there. We had 20 guests today for our meal. I handed out 2 lunches each as I knew there were not going to be a great many show up because of the weather. I was amazed to find out that 7 out of the 20 had no warm place to go to eat their lunch. 35% of our guests today had to sit outside in the cold to eat a lunch they had to walk through snow and ice to receive.

I didn’t want to embarrass anyone and to respect their privacy, i just took a picture of the location to emphasize where they were. 7 of our guests were huddled in behind that white decorative wall eating their lunch!  The REALITY is that even though the City of Medicine Hat has done an incredible job in dealing with homelessness, there is still a problem for some people. That is why Hope Street CMC exists and that is why we are looking to expand our capacity to feed hungry guests in the future. Because it’s cold out there…

Hope Street CMC - because is't cold out there...
Hope Street CMC - Coldest Night of the Year

You can see in the countdown above that the Coldest Night event is just shy of 3 months away (as of the date of this post). If you want to join us, then visit and sign up as a Team Captain, Walker, Volunteer, Donate or Sponsor. 

Please consider joining with us on February 23, 219 and make a difference in the life of a Hope Street CMC Guest. Because IT IS cold out there…

Coldest Night of the Year 2019 - Medicine Hat, AB

Homelessness in Medicine Hat?

Hope Street CMC - Homelessness Question

There is a lot of talk currently about the idea of whether or not there are still homeless persons living in Medicine Hat. I don’t know if I am willing to throw my opinion into this discussion. I know that we continue to serve an average of 85-90 guests each Sunday at the Hope Street Family Safe Meal. A number of our guests would still say they are homeless if you asked them the question. The definition that is being used to define homelessness becomes the defining factor:

  • Chronic VS Actual
  • Sleeping on the Street VS Sleeping on a Couch
  • Accepting Help VS Choosing to do it Alone
 So instead of trying to define or answer the Homeless Number question, I would like to touch on a subject that makes the question above appear MUTE!
Hope Street CMC - Poverty is a BIG Issue!


The issue I see and deal with almost daily is the fact that Medicine Hat is now known world-wide as the first place to eradicate Homelessness; and this title brings with it a overbearing idea that because we have eradicated Homelessness, we must not have any poverty either. Because living in poverty and being homeless are one in the same! RIGHT??…        WRONG!! The fact that Medicine Hat has done an awesome job in dealing with Chronic Homelessness has no bearing on whether or not we have impoverished or disadvantaged persons living in our city. We do… have disadvantaged… and impoverished people in Medicine Hat!! Probably more than anyone wants to admit… and this is why we need organizations like Hope Street operating each week!

So how do you identify an individual or family that would be labelled as disadvantaged or impoverished? 

  • Is there a club they attend?
  • Are they all living in one area of the city? 
  • Is there a way to tell?


Hope Street CMC - Identifying Poverty

The Answer is that there is no tried or true way to identify poverty. It has many shapes and forms. Some are obvious but some are almost invisible to most of us in Canada.

As of 2010, 7,360 people in the greater Medicine Hat area were living in poverty, 2,590 of whom were children – representing a 10% poverty rate, and a 16% child poverty rate.  (

These stats might seem dated but I believe the reality is that the numbers have actually increased since 2010. With cost of living increases and the addition of new taxes that do not discriminate between the haves and have-nots in society  have continued to increase these numbers. The price drop of a barrel of oil had a huge impact on jobs for Hatters and we know the increased need in our city put a strain on all the agencies that help those in need. Poverty is occuring all around us in our city. Do you know that?

Hope Street CMC - How Can You Help?

I started writing this article with a different goal in mind. I wanted to express my concern over the label of “Ending Homelessness”.  I actually have been praying and discerning this post for almost 2 months as I came to terms with the message I wanted to share. I do want to say a HUGE Thank You to those people and organizations that have done so  much work in helping those who were considered homeless. Good Job Medicine Hat!  But let’s just not forget that there is still a huge need for compassion in our city. There are still many organizations that have feet on the ground and are helping impoverished or disadvantaged people.  There are still many ways you , the reader of this, can help!

  • Volunteer
  • Donate
  • Find a way to make a difference in your community
  • Open your eyes to see
  • Reach out in LOVE…

Hope Street is one organization that would love to see you get involved with us and our goal of Increased Potential Through Breaking Cycles of Poverty. There are many organization in our city that could also use your help. All you have to do is open your eyes and look… Be Blessed!

Murray Kumm is the Executive Director of Hope Street CMC