Since our last update on March 21, a lot has happened due to the COVID-19 pandemic both across the world and here at home in Collingwood.

Operations for Out of the Cold Collingwood have also changed.

Our shelter program has moved fully out of our 250 Peel Street location for the time being. We’d like to thank them so much for working with us at the beginning of this pandemic to make sure staff and guests remained as safe as possible.

As of May 6, intake for our program is being conducted entirely by telephone. Anyone wishing to access shelter services is asked to call 211, anytime and you will be connected with a navigator that will provide assistance.

Our shelter program has moved into a local hotel, and is running 24/7 for guests. Each guest who requires a bed is given their own room to make sure physical distancing guidelines are being followed.

The name of the hotel is not being released to the public in order to protect guest privacy.

This is a challenging time to provide support to people experiencing homelessness, and thankfully no positive COVID-19 cases have been identified within the shelter program so far.

The County of Simcoe is overseeing the hotel/motel process for five emergency shelter programs across the county, and are paying expenses for the rooms.

Meal distribution has been moved to New Life Church. We’d like to thank them for stepping up and allowing us to use their facility for this purpose.

We have recently hired four new staff that will help keep operations in line with evolving COVID-19 measures including a health services co-ordinator who will will oversee COVID-19 public health practices for the shelter, guide harm-reduction practices, co-ordinate health and wellness supports (which include on-site paramedic health checks and COVID-19 tests), monitor shelter emergency operations, and provide guidance and support to the shelter team.

For more information on the specifics of our shelter operations procedures in light of COVID-19 that have been approved by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, click here.