Working Together to Provide Support for Homelessness Needs

November 25, 2022
Support

As we move into winter, we know there is care and concern for members of our community experiencing homelessness. In response, the Town would like to share information about the large resource structure that provides support to un-housed individuals in the coming months and how you can help this system to function.

The County of Simcoe is the overarching systems manager for the shelter system and overnight respite warming programs. As the County’s contracted agency, the Busby Centre South Georgian Bay plays a fundamental role in supporting the needs of individuals or families experiencing homelessness in Collingwood. In May 2021, the Busby Centre South Georgian Bay began operating emergency shelter services in our community. Since then, they have added outreach services and as the temperature begins to fall, they will be introducing a warming program that is available 24/7.

Busby works in collaboration with service organizations across Collingwood whose mandate is to support members of our community that are experiencing homelessness. This is through outreach work, emergency shelter service, transitional housing programs or by providing resources and connecting people to services. These efforts have been driven through collaboration with local community partners who directly provide services in the South Georgian Bay.

In August of 2022, Collingwood Council provided $75,000 to extend the temporary motel shelter program and support outreach work as the Community Partners continue to work together toward more permanent solutions for our area.

The reality is that there is an ever-increasing need and demand for services. This means that emergency shelters are constantly being stretched beyond capacity.  Organizations work tirelessly to maximize the budgets they are allocated. Charitable donations and help from the community enable organizations like Busby to spread their budgets even further.

“Due to the housing crisis, the inflow to homelessness is far outweighing the outflow from housing. More and more individuals and families are finding themselves experiencing homelessness and in need of emergency shelter.  As service providers, we are all trying our best to meet the ever-changing needs.” Said Sara Peddle, Executive Director, Busby Centre South Georgian Bay.
 
The Busby Centre South Georgian Bay has worked hard to provide a temporary solution this winter with limited space while they continue to seek a longer-term solution with the community.
 
“A lack of space to accommodate shelter and/or warming programs has forced us to get creative in our approach and is more costly than we had anticipated. However, the cost of doing nothing has a much higher cost. We are currently not only seeking immediate support financially, but we are also seeking volunteers and staffing so that we can safely get more spaces open as soon as possible,” said Peddle.
 
The emergency shelter model in Collingwood is temporary; a response to a need that has only multiplied. Service providers and community partners have vocalized the importance of establishing a more permanent shelter program, a space that provides housing and essential needs, adding a stable foundation for the delivery of inclusive and accessible services.
Everyone carries unique stories. In different ways we find opportunities to help others and as we navigate life’s challenges, reach out for support.

Dignity, autonomy, and self-determination are the foundations of our human rights. To this end, service providers work to support basic needs like shelter and food with respect, compassion, and empathy in a non-judgmental way.

Finding help and navigating services can begin by calling or texting 2-1-1. Service navigators are available 24/7 to connect people to the help they need, including accessing shelter services. To reach Busby directly for shelter/warming space please call 705-828-3795.

If you are able, you may wish to consider donating to the Busby Centre South Georgian Bay. Donations will go directly to delivering services in Collingwood, to meet the needs of our local community. To donate or volunteer please call 705-828-3477 or email getconnected@busbycentre.ca.

As the days grow shorter and the temperature drops, organizations will work tirelessly through community outreach to ensure there is a bed available, a place to seek warmth and access to resources. Your help makes a difference.

NEW! A new Social and Community Services page has been published on the Town website with further resources, background and contact information: https://www.collingwood.ca/social-and-community-services