SUDBURY -- Sudbury Action Centre for Youth (SACY) has opened a shelter and overnight warming centre for young people experiencing homelessness.

It's tough living on the streets, especially as the colder and harsher conditions set in.

Before Dec. 1, there were no shelter beds designated for youth in Sudbury.

"We are seeing youth every day who are coming in soaking wet, shivering, freezing cold, hungry and it's only 8 a.m.," said Julie Gorman, executive director of SACY. "We know that those people were the ones sleeping outside."

SACY now has four shelter beds and a warming centre for people ages 16-24.

"Looking at this safe space that they already recognize and people that they already know and they already call their own as the new place they can go at night, just gives that extra incentive to come in out of the cold," said Gorman.

It's an initiative that is being funded by the city.

Deborah Swyer-Burke is part of a grassroots group volunteering to collect and distribute clothing, food and necessities to people in need.

"Our council is making decisions, good for them. I am happy that they are least on board and that they are getting on board because you don't know how big this problem is. It's a crisis and we are in a pandemic," said Swyer-Burke.

SACY officials said they will welcome youth with a non-judgemental attitude.

Julie Gorman, Sudbury Action Centre For Youth,

"They come not just homeless but with a whole variety of personality traits, so what we are trying to do is treat them as the human being that they are," said Gorman. "When we give respect, we get respect."

Gorman said the organization is hopeful this is the first step to eventually providing full youth shelter services in the city.