Shelter hosts open house
Living Space looking to provide transitional housing and access to professional services
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.
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.