After 20 years operating out of local churches, Barrie’s Out of the Cold emergency shelter program now has a permanent home at the David Busby Street Centre.
The emergency shelter program will move away from operating nightly during the winter months, and beginning in November, will have a permanent home and new operational structure at 88 Mulcaster Street in Barrie, operating under the direction of the David Busby Street Centre staff.
Barrie Out of the Cold was a seven-day-a-week initiative which operated from mid-November to April, providing accommodation and meals to people experiencing homelessness in the community. The program offered extra beds when shelters were operating at max capacity. From 2016 to 2017, Barrie Out of the Cold served 5,732 guests.
According to a press release sent out by Barrie Out of the Cold, the program was under pressure to find a more permanent home to meet the growing demand from guests. After exploring different options for more than a year, the Out of the Cold board of directors decided to dissolve Barrie Out of the Cold, and transfer the assets to an established area shelter, the David Busby Street Centre.
Currently, the David Busby Street Centre offers a number of services including case counselling, housing support, addiction support, healthcare services, mental health services, harm reduction services and more. The centre previously acted as initial intake for Barrie Out of the Cold, and sent overflow guests to their shelters during extreme cold events when all of their shelter beds were full.
Both programs are hoping the collaboration will help to better address the homelessness crisis in the city.
“The move and organizational change aligns with an increased focus on improving delivery of services to those experiencing homelessness in Barrie,” the release reads. “A permanent home and integration with the David Busby Centre will improve access to supports, particularly as it relates to finding permanent housing solutions and offering more intensive case management for high-needs individuals.”
The move is set to happen in November, with the official transfer of assets to take place over the next few months.