Ser­vice Fri­day in mem­ory of opi­oid over­dose vic­tims

The Peterborough Examiner - - Local - JOELLE KOVACH Ex­am­iner Staff Writer

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.

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