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Why do we need an Out of The Cold program:
Out of The Cold Collingwood (OOTC) is a temporary overnight emergency winter shelter from November 2019 – April 2020 lead by the non-profit, accredited agencies, The Busby Centre and Community Connection. It is more than overnight accommodation; rather a centralized and safe space where youth over 16 years, individuals and families with dependents experiencing homelessness are connected to resources to go from homeless to sheltered to housed.
The need is real. Between April 2018 and March 2019, through their 211 helpline, Community Connection responded to 409 calls from South Georgian Bay residents with urgent housing needs. Of these, 59 were experiencing homelessness. The need is growing. During April and June 2019, Community Connection responded to 288 calls from South Georgian Bay residents with urgent housing needs. Of these, 50 were experiencing homelessness. In the first 9 months of the shelter operation, almost 70 individual participants were sheltered representing over 2,000 bed nights, close to 4,000 meals served and over 700 community support connections made.
We are currently one of the only towns in Simcoe County who does not have an emergency shelter. We are working with the community through a feasibility study to look at establishing a permanent emergency shelter in South Georgian Bay.
Often people are working but not earning a living wage in order to maintain a normal standard of living. In Simcoe County, the living wage is calculated to be $18.01 per hour. People become homeless for lots of different reasons, a lack of affordable housing, are low income with no financial safety net, and/or life events such as landlord eviction, addictions or disability. No one plans to be homeless and everyone deserves a home.
The hidden homeless are people who access accommodation but have no immediate prospect of permanent or stable housing. These are people paying more than they can afford in rent or are staying with family or friends — eventually, time runs out on the sustainability of these options. The result is an increasing homeless population living in their cars, in tents or improvised shacks and on the street.
We are a collaborative response to a growing housing crisis in South Georgian Bay and nationally
We have strong leadership using a collective impact model with a long-term, sustainable plan.
Working within the Town of Collingwood, there is a strong desire for our town to be a leader for others. We are currently one of the only towns in Simcoe County who does not have an emergency shelter.
We help those most at risk from violence and/or exploitation by preventing the cycle of oppression
We provide a centralized, safe space to assist people on their journey to a healthier life.
We have professional programming with trained staff to provide an inclusive, compassionate environment.
Our co-ordinated intake and referrals are designed to ensure people get the appropriate housing and service options available for their needs.
We promote people working together for the greater good
We have an allied network of organizations and leaders collaborating to support and advance our collective efforts.
We provide education to promote understanding and awareness of often hidden experiences.