North Bay YMCA to act as city's temporary warming centre
NORTH BAY -- The cots from the old Centre of Friends building, the previous overnight emergency shelter, have been moved and arranged inside the gym at the North Bay YMCA.
This comes after a weekend incident involving police that put the volunteers and clients' safety at risk. As a result, the old Good2Go daytime location had to close down leaving the homeless that were staying there on the streets.
"Everybody collectively realized that there was a need for this, including volunteers and staff," said Christopher Wyness, with the Nipissing Mental Health Housing & Support Services.
The local Boots on the Ground volunteer program stepped up right away providing the people affected with food and shelter from the rain.
"It was pouring rain and we were very, very concerned for their well-being," said team member Bonnie Zufelt over Skype.
There's been a growing demand in space caused by overcrowding and the need for more space for physical distancing. This motivated the YMCA and the city to reach an agreement to allow the gym to operate as the warming centre for the time being.
The gym has enough room for 40 people and will operate throughout the day and night. It also has accessible showers and bathrooms.
"Staff will be 24/7. So, folks will have the option of staying here day and night, as well as utilizing The Gathering Place for food," said Wyness.
Zufelt says the city deserves a lot of credit, stepping up at a time of urgent need.
"Hats off to the city, DNSSAB, and all the hard-working people that made this happen," she said.
The old Centre of Friends location, which served as the nighttime facility for the homeless, will also be closed down.
Wyness says the YMCA will be used as the new temporary location until the pandemic dies down.