Chiara House is an initiative of Little Flowers Community, in partnership with Mennonite Church Manitoba, Eden Health Services and others. Guided by the values and leadership of these partners, Chiara House will be a place of Christian service and hospitality to every person who comes to its door. Not designed to be a shelter, detox program or food bank, the Chiara House partnership is a group of people called to love God & their neighbour together in the context of shared life & community.
To this end a small apartment building in Winnipeg’s West End (490 Maryland St.) was purchased, affording us a space to create this community. Our goal is to provide supportive, affordable housing, with a partial emphasis on shared life and mission together in the context of the neighbourhood. The building is nearing the end of significant renovations to allow tenant to move in.
The building has three floors, as well as a full basement. Each of the three floors will have a two- bedroom suite, a one-bedroom suite and a bachelor suite. Approximately one third of the rooms will be designated for people transitioning to greater independence while living with mental health dynamics. Another third will be available to the neighbourhood for affordable housing. And the final third for Christians committed to share life and community together in the building, while extending hospitality and service to the other tenants & the wider neighbourhood. One bachelor suite will be kept as a community room to encourage connection and relationship between the all the tenants.
The basement will have a small suite for emergency hospitality & emergency housing needs, as well as a small office and meeting space for ministry and community purposes. While each floor will be self-contained and secure, the entire building will function as a singular community, sharing life and mission together.
Those tenants committed to share life together in the building will develop and adhere to a commitment of consistent connection, such as consistently sharing some meals, hosting activities in the building, etc. These members will also participate of various churches/Christian communities and will include, but will not be restricted to, members of Little Flowers Community. Their role is personal and voluntary, not functioning as paid leadership in any way.
We are excited to have nearly completed the renovations the 490 Maryland St. building to pursue this vision. However, in order to see if come into being and be sustained, we need your help, through prayer, volunteering and financial donations. Click here for more information about getting involved.
“Our friends at Little Flowers Community is one of God’s flourishing new plants that give us hope for way of Jesus in inner city Winnipeg. They are both a church and an intentional community that have just purchased a three floor apartment called Chiara House. This building will both house their intentional community as well as give them a place to more fully serve the urban poor. We need to see thousands of the followers of Jesus in North America follow the example of our friends at the Community of Little Flowers of creating intentional communities to both be a difference and make a difference in these troubled times.”
Tom Sine – Mustard Seed Associates