In my role, I frequently come into contact with community members of both the Huronia West and Collingwood OPP areas that are in desperate need of a shelter. Most individuals that our Unit meets with are already discouraged before we speak with them because they are aware there is a housing shortage and have previously attempted to find more permanent housing but were unable to. On many occasions, our officers are forced to drive people to a shelter in the City of Barrie to help them with a place to sleep and food, and access to services to help them find permanent housing. By driving them to Barrie we are intentionally displacing them from the area and people they know, and leaving them, in most cases, in an area they are entirely unfamiliar with.
Beaver Valley Outreach (BVO) has seen a dramatic increase in people coming into our office who are desperate to find affordable housing and who have had to access our emergency funding to help sustain their current housing. An emergency shelter would certainly be an asset in the Georgian Triangle.
Our organization supports Community Connection’s initiative to establish an emergency shelter in the Town of Collingwood, and their request to the Town of Collingwood for a minor zoning variance for the property at 250 Peel Street to facilitate a temporary emergency shelter on the property.
We have long supported members of our community facing homelessness (whether long or short term). Even out here on the outskirts of town as we are, we routinely have people come through our doors seeking shelter, clothing, food, and/or emergency funds. We keep food on site, in addition to socks, gloves, scarves and hats which are routinely needed by our frequent homeless visitors. Sometimes we are even in a position to make specific referrals and/or minimal contributions to an individual’s immediate needs. Yet we are a small congregation which can do little more on our own. Working together on a project like the emergency shelter program we can provide a greater safety net for all people in our town experiencing homelessness.
As a Mental Health and Addiction counsellor/RP, I work with many vulnerable individuals who have or are currently experiencing homelessness. We currently have clients who will need to utilize the Out of The Cold program in the winter months.
The Collingwood Youth Centre has become a safe space for youth to come and get warm, have some food and relax. We have seen over the last three years the drastic increase in youth homelessness. One of our philosophies is making sure every youth has their basic needs met. Providing an emergency shelter is one step closer to getting this basic need met.
We see the homeless in so many ways in our community and wonder why something isn’t done to alleviate their plight. Well, we have a strong team of various community partners that is stepping up to address the needs of the homeless in an accessible location adjacent to myriad medical resources. This program is not intended to be simply a sleep-in. It offers hope for all of us to take some responsibility to address this need, and help satisfy our town motto of “a place to live work and play”.
As the service provider responsible for administering the Simcoe County Regional Housing First Program and the South Georgian Bay Housing Resource Centre, Empower Simcoe understands first-hand the need for an emergency shelter in Collingwood.
We provide a soup kitchen, and it is available to people in our community, on a weekly basis, who are on fixed or low income. Over the past several years, people who are experiencing homelessness have joined us for meals. We see the need for this service, first hand. As well, as a minister, I know of families and individuals who have contacted us for emergency housing. Although we are not able to provide it, ourselves, we will support the agency who is leading this effort.
We are the lead agency for the Health links initiative, that serves the most complex patients. A significant portion of the navigator’s time is spent looking for shelter for patients whom are homeless, many living in parks, cars or under bridges. We used to think this was a problem that only hit larger urban centers, however it’s both shocking and sad, to see how it is playing out in our region. The South Georgian Bay Community Health Link, and the Georgian Bay Family Health Team supports Community Connection’s initiative to establish an emergency shelter in the Town of Collingwood.
We, at Home Horizon, see the need for an Out of the Cold shelter every day during the winter because people often call and visit our Transition Home for food and assistance. The amount of homeless persons we come in contact with in Collingwood is sometimes shocking and being forced to sleep outside during this season places their lives at risk. We are happy to partner with you on the Out of the Cold Initiative.
As an organization mandated to provide safe refuge to abused women and women at risk of violence (women experiencing homelessness), an emergency shelter will be a welcome relief. Too often we receive requests for shelter from people who have exhausted existing resources and it is heartening to know this winter there will be another option to suggest when My Friend’s House is at capacity.
We see this scenario playing out first hand with the families that apply for financial assistance to the YMCA for financial support. Most families that apply fall below the Low Income Cut Off (LICO) for the size of family they arc in. This in turn speaks to their precarious position with housing. These families are one paycheque away from homelessness and in some cases have experienced homelessness.
Last winter we got to know a couple that lived in their car. Every morning they would come in to the Y to warm up and sometimes socialize. Our staff team took to them and most days we would warm up their can of soup for the day.
As a Community Health Centre, we provide primary care services and group programs for many vulnerable individuals and families within South Georgian Bay. We see an increase in the need for emergency funds and suitable housing on a regular basis. The Out of The Cold program would be a safe place for many of our clients who are seeking a warm meal and shelter, in addition to being a great access point to connect with local community resources.
South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre