North Bay men's homeless shelter looks to expand
NORTH BAY -- A men's homeless shelter in North Bay is hoping to expand.
Hope Awaits Ministries is currently only open during the evenings and overnight, but staff are hoping the space can operate all day and night if the community chips in.
For previous client Cosmo Olson, the facility provided him with a safe place to stay. Olson is currently homeless.
"The staff are nice and it's accommodating. The more space, the better. There's no question about it," Olson said. "All you have to do is walk downtown and you see the homeless people."
Hope Awaits Ministries provides its clients with a private room, meals, career path guidance, support and a personalized action plan to help men get on the right path. Its executive director, Nicole Millage, said more staff is always welcome.
"For our program, we really want to work with the clients, assess their needs, help them set goals, help them achieve those goals and see their lives transform," Millage said.
The shelter, which has been helping homeless men since May 2018 is hoping to expand and become a facility that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To do this, the shelter is asking for community donations and said it would need an extra $10,500 a month.
"Our goal was to always be a 24/7 facility," said Millage. "But, we've just seen an increase in need since COVID and the restrictions."
If it can expand, Hope Awaits Ministries would offer more life skills programs. Millage admits that there is an increase in the number of homeless men on the streets and that the more services there are available to help these men, the better.
"Unfortunately, there's not a lot of services that are open during the day and not a lot of places for people to go," she said.
North Bay homeless advocate Shayne Moyer agrees. He cites overflow at other services across the city that serve the city's most vulnerable.
"It would help a lot with our homeless population," Moyer said. "We're only going to see it rise."
Hope Awaits Ministries currently serves up to seven men at a time and Millage said staff are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of their clients.
"If Hope Awaits Ministries became a 24/7 facility, it would provide more bedding for people that are staying out on the street," Olson said.