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Sudbury church partners with city to help homeless stay warm


The recent cold snap has made difficult living conditions for the homeless even tougher.

Grace Family Church on Burton Avenue is the site of Greater Sudbury's new warming centre that will be opened every night until April 30. (Alana Everson/CTV News Northern Ontario)Up until last night overnight warming centres in Greater Sudbury were only open when it was -15 C or -20 C with the windchill or during an extreme winter storm warning. Now the city has made a change with the help of a local church to offer a space for people to get warm overnight every night until the end of April.

Grace Family Church is now open every night from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. as a place for people to get warm.

The pastor told CTV News when the congregation heard there was a need they wanted to help beyond being open during cold alerts or extreme winter warnings.

“There is a lot of really compassionate people at Grace Family Church,” said Pastor Bob Deppisch.

“A lot of Germans people a lot of people who want to help and make a difference. So it was a no-brainer when we found out there was a need people automatically started saying lets do something about it.”

Pastor Bob Deppisch shows CTV Northern Ontario's Alana Everson around the new warming centre that will be operated out of the Grace Family Church every night until April 30. (Alana Everson/CTV News Northern Ontario)The space can hold 30 people at a time and church officials said there are four staff including a security guard working every night. There are hot drinks, sandwiches and phones for people to use for local calls.

“Getting out of the cold is a big help,” said Deppisch.

“The older I get the more I find the cold impacts me and even if you are young the cold is very damaging to your body. I think it will help people by giving them an opportunity to have some food, a safe environment.”

Officials with the city said the extra warming space is needed with more homeless people in the city than ever before.

“This enhancement which means that Grace Family Church is going to be open every night no matter what the temperature between now and April 30 is a very big benefit to our programs,” said Gail Spencer, the city’s coordinator of shelters and homelessness.

“People who are living outdoors know that every night there is a space that they can go to just warm up and meet with people.”

The warming centre at Grace Church also gives out warm clothes, blankets and sleeping bags. The church said say donations are welcome and to call the office to make arrangements for drop off.

Grace Family Church Pastor Bob Deppisch told CTV News that the congregation wanted to help so operating the warming centre was a "no-brainer." (Alana Everson/CTV News Northern Ontario)The city confirmed with CTV News that the cost of operating the new warming centre every night until the end of April is $240,000. The expense is being funded by money the city received through a federal grant to help with winter response to homelessness. Top Stories

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