Search on for men’s shelter
Salvation Army hostel downtown now closed
The city is looking to establish a temporary men’s shelter in conjunction with the Canadian Mental Health Association to accommodate those displaced from the downtown Salvation Army hostel.
The New Life Centre, housed in an aging building on Larch Street and taking in about 20 people at a time, closed Friday after serving those in need for more than 60 years.
Bruce Shirran, executive director of the centre, earlier told The Star that budget constraints and growing maintenance costs no longer made the shelter viable, while stressing the Salvation Army would continue to operate its facility on Cedar Street for women, parents and children, as well as its thrift store on Notre Dame Avenue.
In a report presented at a Community Services Committee meeting on Monday, staff said efforts have been made to create another option for the homeless men affected by the centre’s closure.
“Staff approached the two other shelter service providers within Greater Sudbury — L’association des jeunes de la rue (AJR) and the Canadian Mental Health Association Sudbury-Manitoulin (CMHA)— to look for an alternative solution to meet this gap,” the report states.
“While AJR was not able to provide this service, the CMHA are willing to work with staff to develop a temporary solution.”
The report says CMHA is planning to open a “temporary low-barrier shelter that provides services for up to 20 individuals aged 18 and older who identify as male, and to individuals who identify without a gender (non-binary) who feel comfortable staying in a men’s shelter.”
This program would be run nightly from 10 p.m.-8 a.m., and “offer a safe environment, warm cots for sleeping, light snacks and refreshments.”
A site has not been publicly identified but staff said “final arrangements are being made for a suitable location in the community.”
The plan would be to operate this temporary program from early June to the end of October, according to the report, at which point the Off the Street Low Barrier Shelter would open in the former police station at 200 Larch Street that is undergoing renovations.
“In line with the shelter review recommendations, the Off the Street Low Barrier Shelter will move to a year-round model of operation, and will provide a low-barrier, housing-focused approach to all genders,” reads the report.
Under a funding agreement with the city, the Salvation Army had been providing up to 22 beds for homeless men aged 20 and older, with an occupancy rate of 75 per cent last year, staff said.
The city has a mandate from the province “to coordinate and/or deliver programming to reduce or prevent homelessness,” the report indicates, with funding provided by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing through the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative.
The city also “contributes additional municipal funds to the annualized allocation and further receives federal funding aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness,” while working with community groups to “provide programs that support people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness including emergency shelter programs for men, women and families and youth.”
An evaluation of the city’s emergency shelter system was completed last year, the report states, with “a goal to receive recommendations toward establishing a modernized shelter system with equitable funding models and core service levels that fit well with other community services.”
On March 18, a report was also presented to the Community Services Committee with recommendations for “right-sizing the shelter system,” and the goal over the next year is to “move to a well-coordinated, housing-focused and outcome-based shelter system.”
This would include a yearround adult shelter for people of any gender aged 25 and older at the Off The Street Shelter at 200 Larch St.
In the meantime, staff said they will continue to work with the CMHA to open a temporary men’s emergency shelter program.