Homeless Londoners without shelter will have a warm place to escape the winter weather with the launch of the City of London and Ark Aid Street Missions out of the cold program.
The program, which is part of the city’s winter response to the homeless scheme, will provide 40 to 50 beds each night from now through March 31 at First St. Andrew’s Church, with day spaces at the Center Branch. YMCA.
Daytime walk-in spaces will open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. M. At 8 p. M. Seven days a week, and the night rest spaces will operate from 10 p.m. Until 8 a.m. M. And then they will start to open at 8 a.m. M. January 1.
The spaces will offer people a place to stay, warm food, winter clothing, clean socks, and access to other supports they may need.
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The warm place to stay is something that people who manage the space and those who use it say makes a big difference when the temperature drops.
Kenneth Hammond, 34, has been living homeless on and off since he was 15 years old.
“One of the biggest stresses here is where am I going to get food, when am I going to get food, where am I going to sleep, when am I going to sleep, and those four questions are taken out of the equation now,” Hammond said.
“If I’m here at a certain time, you get a bed; if I’m here at a certain time I get food. There are solid, unshakable, guaranteed answers, and that takes a lot of the stress out of things. “
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Hammond said he gets $ 390 a month for rent and $ 370 a month for basic necessities, and the $ 760 is what he has in a month to survive.
“We’re not all here because we don’t know how to budget or we have serious addiction problems, we’re not all here because we just want to be here,” Hammond said. “It shouldn’t be here.
“All you can really afford for social assistance is shared accommodation. There is always a personal conflict, and something will happen, and then I go out again. “
Looking at what options were available two years ago, Hammond says it’s day and night, with few options once the shelters fill up.
“These cold Canadian winters are not kind to people when it comes to frostbite, when it comes to their health, when it comes to surviving, and this is a life-saving measure for people deprived of housing,” said Sarah Campbell , executive director. from Ark Aid Mission.
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This year’s homeless winter response plan aims to address people’s needs, both short-term and long-term, in hopes of working overtime to give people permanent housing.
Campbell noted that while having access to overnight options on the coldest nights of last year is a priority, this year, with the help of city funding, they are able to offer overnight spaces every night, during all the winter.
This year, he said they will hire six people who have experienced homelessness without home in the past to help with the program.
“The voice of lived experience makes a big difference in how we do things.”
The city’s total winter response cost for both reception spaces and long-term stays will cost just over $ 1.32 million, and all costs will be covered by the Federal Reaching Home Program and Aid Funding from Provincial Social Services.
“The Winter Response Plan adds capacity across the city and uses various approaches with many social service agencies to support vulnerable Londoners in our community,” says Debbie Kramers Informed Response Manager Coordinated with the City of London.
“The Council has strongly supported the initiation of the Winter Response Plan and the use of funds in an immediate and impactful way to support the homeless this winter.”
Details on how to volunteer or donate to the walk-ins can be found in the Ark Aid Mission website.
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