COURTNEY McCLURE The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: Did you know there are no designated warming shelters located in the City of Kawartha Lakes? However, 'A Place Called Home' (APCH), in Lindsay, is doing what they can.
“We kind of take everybody,” explained Nicole Bryant, hostel and outreach manager, at APCH. “Our goal for the winter is nobody is [left] outside.”
According to Ms. Bryant, the summer, spring and autumn are referred to as the “off-season”. This means some homeless shelters may be less busy during those times of the year.
During those times, APCH has a 19 bed facility, and they strive to accommodate, everyone, including families.
In the winter, staff at APCH switches over to “winter response”; turning the shelter into a “low-barrier” shelter for very vulnerable people. This includes adding additional staff members to help tend to unsheltered people.
At APCH, staff also run a trustee program which assists adults with “higher acuity” and have a history of homelessness due to not paying their rent. Staff at APCH help these adults manage their money, to prevent them from becoming homeless.
APCH also has an all-year-around outreach program.
In addition to the 19 beds available at the shelter, APCH allows people to come into the building and use some of the services they provide, such as showers, laundry or to eat.
According to Ms. Bryant, there are various challenges they face at APCH, such as, a lack of government funding or low-staffing.
“We are a not-for-profit, so we try our best to work through [the challenges],” she said. “We try to adapt to what the need is, as best as we can.”
According to Ms. Bryant, the City of the Kawartha Lakes does not have an “encampment,” like Oshawa does. During the off-season, there may be homeless individuals staying in tents, still, she does not consider those groups an encampment.
“I would say the difference between us and other communities is none of our [homeless individuals] are opposed to coming indoors,” she said. “They are all actively trying to get spots in the shelter, we just don’t have the capacity.”
One of the aspects Ms. Bryant enjoys, about working at APCH, is meeting new people and hearing about their lives. “Everybody [has a] different story and being able to support people through that, in whatever capacity we can, is always really neat,” she explained.
To learn more about A Place Called Home and what they do, please visit apch.ca. APCH does accept financial donations. Nicole mentioned they take financial donations. To donate on line, go to https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/m/60638?v2=true. Donations can also be dropped off, at 64 Lindsay Street South, in Lindsay.