Out of the Cold Collingwood will be leaning on Barrie’s David Busby Centre more in the future now that the two have a formal partnership.
The chair of the task force running Out of the Cold in Collingwood, Marg Scheben-Edey, said the experience of the staff and executive at the Barrie shelter are important for the future of the local shelter.
“The requirements of operating a shelter have become very large in light of the pandemic,” said Scheben-Edey. “We often feel we need greater expertise.”
Since opening a temporary shelter on Peel Street in the E3 building, Out of the Cold Collingwood has provided shelter for more than 60 people representing more than 1,600 “bed nights,” and 2,800 meals.
Since March, Out of the Cold Collingwood has been coordinating full shelter services 24 hours a day, seven days per week using funding from Simcoe County.
“What originally was envisioned to be a small pilot program has grown significantly … 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 Scheben-Edey in a press release.
She confirmed to CollingwoodToday Out of the Cold would remain a stand alone operation.
The executive director of the Busby Centre, Sara Peddle, will sit on the Out of the Cold task force, as will Pam Hillier, executive director for 211 Community Connection.
Out of the Cold formed in partnership with 211.
“Like everything we do, it’s a unique model,” said Scheben-Edey. “Technically [the Busby Centre] will be our lead agency. That doesn’t take away our partnership with Community Connection. They are the anchor for South Georgian Bay and understanding our local issues. We’re just all going to work together.”
The new partnership will include human resources support from the Busby Centre, and from now on all charitable donation receipts for money given to Out of the Cold Collingwood will be issued through the Busby Centre.
The current Out of the Cold management team will continue to operate the shelter in Collingwood, serving South Georgian Bay. They will receive advice and guidance from the Busby Centre.
“We’re really excited,” said Scheben-Edey.
The David Busby Centre has 25 years of experience providing services to those experiencing homelessness.
“We are looking forward to sharing our expertise,” said Peddle in a news release.
Scheben-Edey said she’s glad to have the experience of the Busby Centre not just in operating a shelter, but in providing services to the homeless population.
Out of the Cold Collingwood is moving forward with study looking into the feasibility of a permanent shelter for the area. The cost of the study is $18,750. Collingwood council agreed to pay for half the study (about $9,000) and The Blue Mountains council has also agreed to contribute $3,125 toward the cost. Requests to Wasaga Beach and Clearview councils have not yet been answered. For now, Out of the Cold operational funding will cover the remaining cost, but Scheben-Edey is hopeful the other municipalities will agree to pitch in.
The Out of the Cold task force will be meeting with the consultant on Sept. 2.
“All of us that work with the homeless population will be looking at the results of that and working together on planning next steps,” said Scheben-Edey.