SUDBURY -- People experiencing homelessness can access services at the new Homelessness Network Day Centre, which has been relocated from 19 Frood Road to 199 Larch Street.

City officials said finding a new location was needed, especially in the middle of a pandemic.

"We had to put this in place because of COVID and the fact that so many other services had to close. We needed a space that could provide a safe space for people to be, to access washrooms, eat some food, connect with client services and also to stay warm out of the cold elements,” said Gail Spencer, the coordinator of shelters and homelessness for the City of Greater Sudbury.

The new centre can seat up to 32 people at a time.

Spencer said there were a few different locations the city was looking at.

"We looked at all options that we could find that would provide a big enough space for physical distancing for this number of people," Spencer said. "It went to council with a couple of options and this location, at 199 Larch Street, was determined to be the best one."

Staff said throughout the day the program sees roughly 70 individuals come through the doors. But, Spencer said this is a temporary program that was put in place because of COVID-19.

"We had agreed to be open until May 31st of this year. We will be reassessing things closer to May, to see if we need to continue the program or what we can do within the community," Spencer said.

Sudbury’s mayor said addressing the needs for the city’s most vulnerable remains a top priority for city council.

"We’re dealing with complex combinations of homelessness, challenges with drug addictions, challenges with mental illness," said Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger. "Now we’ve got a location where we provide the full coverage, and the full access to all of these proper supports and my eye is still on let’s say the medium to long-term to find a permanent solution."

The program will continue to operate seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.