Cold weather finds Kingston’s Integrated Care Hub seeks help for the homeless – Kingston | The Canadian News

With these constant cold temperatures, the integrated care center on Montreal Street in Kingston is seeking the public for donations.

On the list of much-needed items are personal care products such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and underwear, energy bars, tin cans and clothes to help the uninhabited population stay clean, warm and dry this winter.

“Mittens, hats, gloves, scarves, warm coats, winter boots – all of these are essentials for people who spend a lot of their time outdoors,” said Gilles Charette, executive director of HIV / AIDS Regional Services.

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Along with personal hygiene items, Charette says ready-to-go food is also an important donation that the Hub is looking for.

“Snacks, things between meals that people need, healthy snacks, things that people can eat without the need for a heater, a microwave, a kettle,” he said.

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Theresa Davidson lives at a camp on the front lawn of the Kingston Memorial Center and has done everything she can to isolate the tent in which she sleeps.

“I still need some sails, so I picked up some blankets and raincoats that someone donated for now,” Davidson said.

“I also have good against the walls at the bottom because you feel a little air,” she added, referring to her tent setup.

Wes Barr, who also has a tent at the Memorial Center, says he has a similar arrangement, and says at one point his shelter consisted of a large insulated freezer.

“At one point, I was living in my suitcase … I immediately climbed into that thing and stayed warm,” Barr said.

Both Davidson and Barr say the only saving grace is the ability to connect and run electric heaters in their tent.

“Without the plugs, we would all probably freeze to death,” Barr said.

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Charette says exposure in the cold is a constant risk for the homeless.

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“We do have nurses who are on site at different times to do wound care and to examine people who had limbs that were exposed to the cold and who had freezing, absolutely,” Charette explains.

Care center managers say a range of factors such as lack of meaningful employment, stigma and inflation are all stretching support services in the community.

“All the shelters are working on their capacity, spaces used to isolate individuals who have contracted COVID are also often stretched,” Charette said.

Any donations of winter clothing and other necessary items can be dropped off at the Integrated Care Hub at 661 Montreal St., Kingston.

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