Some homeless advocates are welcoming the opening of a shelter in Sudbury for those under the influence, now that the City and the Salvation Army have come to an agreement to provide a shelter every night until the end of next month.
No one who is intoxicated can be turned away, unless he or she is violent.
The executive director of the Social Planning Council said it's good to have a shelter for the most vulnerable people for these last few weeks of winter.
“We still have to talk about a long term strategy around a wet shelter and how we make this a more permanent fixture,” Janet Gasparini said. “But I am very pleased about this announcement.”
The city is spending $47,000 on the program.
Lise Sénécal, who runs a shelter for teens, said she routinely has to turn away a young person because of intoxication — but now she has somewhere safe to send them.
“At least three or four times a weeks I have to refuse a youth to remain at the shelter because he's under the influence,” she said.
“Now, instead of sending him to the detox centre, where they are full to the max, I will be able to send him for the night at that shelter.”
Gasparini said options for a long-term wet shelter need to be kept front and centre. A wet shelter is one that dispenses small amounts of alcohol to people to manage their addiction.
“I do think there is some work to do to look at a place where people are given a limited amount of alcohol in the context of the shelter so that, first of all, they're not becoming so inebriated that they're passing out on the street,” she said. “And so that they're not drinking poisonous substances.”