The city has no intention of funding a warming centre this winter. According to an article posted Oct. 26, Sudbury has 48 shelter beds to accommodate the 178 homeless individuals.
Last year, a warming centre was open from January to April. Despite having its issues, the pros far outweighed the cons. We read about the problems in the media, but didn't read about the benefits.
Lives were saved on a regular basis, basic first aid and a listening ear provided, communication facilitated between a variety of service providers and clients, shelter from the elements, food and genuine care and concern given.
This year, nothing.
Nothing at night except for a small emergency cold-alert space with a capacity of 15 people when temperatures are below -20 C.
This is completely unacceptable.
You will see theft and petty crime levels rise, more overdose deaths, people freezing to death and people losing fingers and toes to frostbite. You’ll also see a rise in people in jail as it provides shelter and food but at enormous cost.
As an outreach volunteer, a teacher at the Sudbury District Jail, a part-time employee at the warming station last year and strong believer in "loving our neighbours as ourselves," I see a desperate need for the new council to better understand homelessness and its complexities and the existing gaps in service and look for ways to actually help those who need it most in the community for which they serve.
Melanie Louise Johncox