From Collingwood Connection Thursday, August 27, 2020
Out of The Cold Collingwood and Community Connection have formed a new administrative and strategic partnership with the David Busby Centre in Barrie.
As a result of an overwhelming need identified through their 211 helpline, Community Connection formed a local task force in 2019 which led to the opening of the Out of The Cold pilot program in December 2019. The program operated as a night-time, winter season shelter until March of this year when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. To meet pandemic health directives, and with no full-time shelter in the Southern Georgian Bay region, the program quickly pivoted to provide full services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with isolation and safe distancing capabilities in a local hotel for up to 12 guests at a time.
“What originally was envisioned to be a small pilot program has grown significantly and the pandemic environment has exposed the cracks in services available to our most vulnerable citizens. The time is right to expand our partnership to include a housing first mission-focused agency to complement the program as we work toward permanent solutions,” said task force chairperson, Marg Scheben-Edey. She said that the leadership of Community Connection together with the David Busy Centre is a perfect partnership.
The David Busby Centre has over 25 years of experience responding to challenges of those in highly vulnerable situations leading to homelessness. “We are looking forward to sharing our expertise with the South Georgian Bay Out of The Cold program and to ensuring that the exceptional results they have experienced to date continue,” said Busby Executive Director, Sara Peddle. The task force will continue to provide the strategic vision for the local program with no immediate changes planned.