Out of the Cold program launched at Choices to keep the homeless warm

March 9, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By JAMES MATTHEWS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A new program that aims to bring vulnerable people out of the cold has been launched in Dufferin County.

The Out of the Cold Program is supported by the Town of Orangeville, Dufferin County, and Choices Youth Shelter. It’s an initiative to help people experiencing homelessness.

The program is touted as a big step toward addressing homelessness in Dufferin County and aligns with the ongoing goals of the town, the county, and Choices to provide support to vulnerable populations. 

The program, which opened March 6, is offered at the Choices Youth Shelter located at 59 Town Line and will operate seven days a week from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. Five unisex beds will be available. Meals, showers, and washrooms will be offered while the facility is open.

Those who need to access the Out of the Cold program do not require pre-registration

The program is for Dufferin County residents only, regardless of income level, gender, or age.

Staff at Out of the Cold will be trained in supporting vulnerable populations. 

The program is set to close April 1, but could be extended as long as the weather’s cold.

Orangeville Mayor Lisa Post said it’s been a tough few people in the county. As such, she’s proud the municipality has the opportunity to partner on the service.

“We’re still recovering from a global pandemic while battling a higher cost of living, resulting in more residents finding themselves facing extreme financial hardships,” Post said.

Warden Wade Mills, who is also mayor of Shelburne, said homelessness is a problem that requires more than short-term solutions.

Regardless, the Out of the Cold Program is a step in the right direction.

“We are dedicated to continuing to work with our partners to support those experiencing homelessness in Dufferin County, but more than short-term solutions are needed,” Mills said.

“By collaborating with local stakeholders and agencies, we will address issues like the supply of affordable housing and end homelessness in the longer term, together.”

Erin Goodyear, Choices Youth Shelter’s director, said the program demonstrates a commitment to helping with the needs of the community’s most vulnerable people.

“Choices Out of the Cold program will provide a safe and warm space for those in need and offer additional support, should participants be interested,” Goodyear said.

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