While FaithWorks did not receive a formal cease and desist order regarding our ministry to the people who are homeless in Brunswick, we did get a letter from Mayor Johnson requesting that we close The Well. This request came to us due to the recent violent acts within the city which the accused violators are homeless, but not a part of the population we serve at The Well. We too are alarmed by these recent events, and we are concerned by an increase in number of those suffering homelessness due to behavioral health issues affecting our nation, state, and community.
The FaithWorks Board of Directors met last week to determine a response to the Mayor’s verbal request before it was formalized in the letter. Our desire is to cooperate with the City while not turning our backs on those we are called to serve. We hear the cries of our neighbors, and we have been working for months to relocate The Well so that we can continue to offer our current compassionate services, provide shelter where those most vulnerable can be safe, and to create educational programs for the community that help us all understand the behavioral health crisis so we as a whole community can respond in positive and proactive ways.
We have offered the Mayor temporary closure of The Well of 65 days while we reassess our current ministry and plan for the future. With any closing, certain needs and concerns arise including, but not limited to, delivery of the US Mail to those who chose to have 1101 Gloucester as their mailing address, the need for those who are employed to be able to wash clothes, a location where organizations such as Gateway can find their clients, etc. These concerns have been expressed to the Mayor for consideration by City Council and other city officials. At this point, we await their decision to determine if any acts of compassion can take place at The Well.
Additionally, we have asked the Mayor to have the Police Department to recognize the “No Loitering” signs which have always been posted at The Well and to keep the public sidewalk and street clear of any gathering of people.
We are instructing current guests to gather their belongings and to find other places to be. It is our hope that some can reestablish relationships with their families and friends during this time of closure. We know, however, that will be impossible for some and we call upon all of those churches, organizations, and individuals that have been serving alongside us to continue to help us offer acts of compassion and care to those who find themselves in an even more precarious position.