Sudbury homeless shelter location change
As the cold weather sets in, so are the harsh realities of being homeless during the winter in northern Ontario.
In Sudbury, the city funds a 30-bed emergency shelter that is run by the Canadian Mental Health Association.
But this year, it's being moved to a new location and is set up and ready to go.
The location of the Off The Street Emergency Shelter is located in the parish hall of Christ the King church on Ste. Anne Road in downtown Sudbury.
“We really wanted to be close to where the mission is, so they can get from their suppers in the evening and to their breakfast in the morning with a short walk, but it's also in the downtown area. That's where most of the people we see are sleeping on park benches and this is a close location for them to come to.” said Cindy Rose, the manager of the shelter.
The change of venue is because the usual Larch Street site is under renovation.
Father Jim Ketzler at Church of Christ the King says when they were told about the situation, the parishioners didn't hesitate to support the idea, as they want people to be safe and warm.
“In fact, after I announced it, you know, we got the applause, but then parishioners came to me and said ‘are you going to have an envelope so we can make donations to the shelter? What will they need?’ So, just like the whole community, everybody is on board.” said Father Jim.
CTV News spoke to a 37-year-old homeless man who said he preferred we not show who he is out of what he calls shame and embarrassment. He says he has been using the shelter for the past three years.
“Oh God, when it gets -30, you are glad to have that place to go. They have hot coffee all the time, soup. You know, you feel a big weight off your shoulders knowing that place is there when it gets that cold out eh?” said the man.
The shelter is low barrier, which means people who are under the influence will not be turned away, although there are policies in place.
“We do not allow weapons, needles, alcohol to come in. We do have bag checks from security staff that happen when they first come in, and if there is anything that they have, we just encourage them to put it in their lockers for the night and they are more than welcome to take them in the morning.” said Rose.
Last year the OTS shelter helped a total 460 people stay warm overnight from November to mid-April, a number that doubled from the previous year.
The shelter is open seven days a week from 8:30 pm to 8:00 am and offers light snacks in addition to a warm bed for the night.