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New homeless overnight warming centre to open in Guelph Sunday

Up to 15 people otherwise living outdoors will be given a bed and food at the Drop In Centre on Gordon Street
20191218 Welcome In Drop-In Centre KA
GuelphToday file photo

A new warming centre for Guelph's homeless will open at the Drop In Centre on Gordon Street starting Sunday.

The centre will provide "a warm bed, food and a sense of community for up to 15 people who are otherwise living outdoors," said a news release announcing the initiative.

The Centre will be open from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., seven days a week, on a first-come, first-served basis.

The pandemic limits the number of people the centre can handle to 15.

“Typically the Drop In has acted as a community centre for anyone who wanted to come in and out, but that isn’t the case with the warming centre this year,” says Gail Hoekstra, Executive Director of the Drop In Centre.

“We are working to follow all public health guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and that means we can only admit up to 15 people for the night.”

Drop In staff are also delivering the Loyola House Supportive Temporary Accommodation Pilot (LHSTAP).

 “LHSTAP is allowing us to provide 24-hour-a-day supports and work in partnership with health agencies to build in primary care supports. This is helping to create a model of intensive support to meet the need and we will hopefully continue to build on this model to be applied to any permanent supportive housing projects that are being proposed across Guelph-Wellington,” said Hoekstra.

“Our community partners are able to support people in areas such as mental health, physical health and addiction support, and that makes a world of difference in putting them in a more stable position.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted housing insecurity and homelessness as a key issue that needs to be addressed in our community, and the Drop In is proud of the pivoting we have been able to do to respond quickly,” says Hoekstra.

“Our community partners have really come together to meet the needs of vulnerable people in our community, and we will continue to work on emergency and longer-term solutions to address homelessness and housing instability.”