Shel­ter hosts open house

Liv­ing Space look­ing to pro­vide tran­si­tional hous­ing and ac­cess to pro­fes­sional ser­vices

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - Front Page - Ron Grech

The long-term plan is for Liv­ing Space to of­fer more than an overnight warm­ing shel­ter.

The down­town Tim­mins shel­ter has been open since late Jan­uary.

Mark Lionello, pro­gram man­ager with the Cana­dian Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion who is also at­tached to Liv­ing Space, said their goal is to pro­vide not only im­me­di­ate needs of food and shel­ter, but ac­cess to ser­vices to help im­pov­er­ished in­di­vid­u­als back on their feet.

“It’s a branch to reach be­tween that area of ab­ject home­less­ness and long-term sus­tain­able, sup­port­able hous­ing,” said Lionello.

The fa­cil­ity is the re­sult of a co­or­di­nated ef­fort by dif­fer­ent so­cial agen­cies want­ing to pro­vide a “one-stop shop” to those liv­ing on the streets.

On Wed­nes­day, Liv­ing Space hosted an open house, invit­ing the pub­lic and lo­cal dig­ni­taries to have a tour of the fa­cil­ity lo­cated 27 Cedar St. N.

“There are three floors to the build­ing. The main floor is a 22-bed overnight shel­ter that pro­vides some shel­ter for folks overnight, and a lit­tle bit of food and the op­por­tu­nity to do laun­dry, get some cloth­ing, shower, that kind of thing,” ex­plained Lionello.

“The sec­ond floor, which isn’t ready yet, will serve as a ser­vice hub. Hav­ing dif­fer­ent agen­cies come in so it will be a one-stop shop for clients who are look­ing to get linked up with — it could be men­tal health ser­vices, ad­dic­tions, le­gal ser­vices, what-have-you.

“The idea is to have time slots or op­por­tu­ni­ties. It would be Mon­day, Wed­nes­day and Fri­day, we have men­tal health staff in the of­fice. Maybe in the morn­ings or the af­ter­noons, we could have some­one from South Cochrane Ad­dic­tion Ser­vices or some­one from le­gal ser­vices or peo­ple pro­vid­ing hair­cuts … Try­ing to meet peo­ple where they are at is the im­por­tant thing. That’s why that floor will be es­sen­tial for that.”

The plans for the third floor would see rental units de­signed to pro­vide tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion for those in the midst of ar­rang­ing per­ma­nent hous­ing.

“On the third floor there are 13 rooms that will serve as tran­si­tion rooms, just to help give peo­ple an op­por­tu­nity to get ser­vices in place or fi­nances set up to get on their feet be­fore they can get keys to a long-term apart­ment or home or what­ever they are look­ing for,” ex­plained Lionello.

“The rent would be minimal and we’d set it at a man­age­able cost for those who are stay­ing,” said Lionello.

“The rate would be at or very sim­i­lar to what some­one would be re­ceiv­ing for On­tario Works for a shel­ter.”

The open house at Liv­ing Space was one of sev­eral com­mu­nity events held on Wed­nes­day in con­nec­tion with World Home­less Day.

Ron Grech/ The Daily Press

KayLee Moris­sette, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor/re­gional co­or­di­na­tor of the Cochrane Dis­trict So­cial Plan­ning Coun­cil, holds up a laun­dry bag in the stor­age room at the Liv­ing Space shel­ter in Tim­mins while chat­ting with Mark Lionello, pro­gram man­ager with the Cana­dian Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion. They were among those on hand for the open house at Liv­ing Space on Wed­nes­day.

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