Service Friday in memory of opioid overdose victims
Peterborough’s ongoing housing crisis has forced record numbers of homeless people into the Warming Room this summer – and the pressure has the emergency shelter seeking new volunteers.
“We’ve been incredibly busy,” said director Christian Harvey. “The Warming Room has never had numbers this high.”
They’ve had about 32 people per night this summer – up from about 21 people in the winter, Harvey said.
Meanwhile it’s the first summer for the Warming Room, which started out several years ago as a winter-only shelter.
Earlier this year it got city funding to operate year-round, in the lower level of Murray Street Baptist Church.
Harvey attributes the high usage of the Warming Room to the lack of available apartments, in Peterborough: the vacancy rate is stuck at one per cent.
The Warming Room will be even busier this fall and winter, since many homeless people are camping this summer: “They’ll have to come in,” he said.
Things are so busy at the Warming Room as well as at One Roof Diner – the free-meal program at St. John’s Anglican Church – that there’s a call out for new volunteers.
The Warming Room needs anywhere from 30 to 40 more volunteers to do duties such as overnight shifts, Harvey said.
About 15 more people are also needed to cook and serve at the One Roof Diner.
Harvey also said he’ll be officiating this Friday at a special service to remember those who’ve died of opioid overdose.
The service will be held at 10 a.m. in the guildhall of St. John’s Anglican Church at 99 Brock St.
Many members of the One Roof and Warming Room communities have died recently, Harvey said, and the idea is to gather and remember them.
“We’re losing people at a higher rate now than ever before,” Harvey said.
It will be a “very inclusive” service where people will be invited to light a candle, he said, and share a memory of the person they lost.
The service is taking place this week because it is Overdose Prevention Week.