Complaint alleges shelter barring clients tied to Street Church
By Krista Sylvester
April 21, 2008 01:11
A human rights complaint has been filed against the Calgary Drop-In Centre for banning some clients from using the facility because of their associations.
Street Church minister Artur Pawlowski filed the complaint on Friday on behalf of his volunteers and clients who have been turned away from the city’s homeless shelter for associating with the controversial ministry.
Former Drop-In Centre client Morris Boyer said he has been chased out of the shelter ever since he started following the Street Church.
“I can’t even go in there without them chasing me out. It seems like they are threatened by us for some reason, but we’re not threatening to them,” Boyer told Metro.
And Street Church volunteer Bogdan Stobieck said he was also banned from the centre specifically because he volunteers with Pawlowski.
“I don’t understand, they have a sign that says ‘safe place for everyone, everyone welcome’ but they don’t welcome us. We’re just trying to help,” he told Metro.
Par Wantenaar and his church partner Joe Hofer drive in to Calgary from High River with their kids to help feed the poor. They told Metro they were always allowed to feed those in the shelter — that is, until they found out the family also volunteers with the Street Church.
“We just wanted to feed the ones who are in wheelchairs and can’t come out but now we have been banned from going in there,” Wantenaar said.
Pawlowski said he believes all this adds up to nothing short of harassment and has even named the executive director of the Drop-In Centre, Dermot Baldwin, in the human rights complaint.
“Why would the Drop-In Centre and the Mustard Seed have a problem with us when we are all just trying to help the homeless? I think they are afraid of us because we’re exposing their corruption,” he told Metro.
Due to the timing of the story an official from the Drop-In Centre couldn’t be reached for comment.
>> The City of Calgary currently
has a pending injunction case
against the Street Church and a
judge will be rendering her decision
in two weeks.