The Salvation Army is launching an "Out of the Cold" program for Sudbury's homeless people this week—including beds for those under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

Starting Wednesday night, the pilot program will operate from the organization's Larch Street location.

It will open every night between 8:30 p.m. and 7 a.m. until March 31.

“The Salvation Army will welcome all persons, male or female, who are seeking shelter on those cold winter nights,” Captain Robert Russell said.

The organization already offers a space for sober clients, and while this new space will be open to everyone, rules will still be in place.

“We won’t allow people to take or consume alcohol or drugs on the premises,” Captain Mike Hennessey said.

“We won’t allow people to smoke on the premises and we discourage people bringing any pets.”

Hennessey said staff that will be working at the facility did not need extra training to do so.

“The fortunate benefit is all of them have previous skills that are associated, applicable and transferable to this program,” he explained.

“Some of them come with [a] set of skill sets that are very much what we wanted.”

‘Healthy, equitable community’

The city’s general manager of community development said she’s pleased the city was able to partner with the Salvation Army to open the shelter.

Catherine Matheson said staff from both the city and Salvation Army worked tirelessly to make the partnership possible.

“The launch of this project is a testament to their decision to, and Council’s leadership for, a healthy, equitable community,” she said.

Before the announcement was made, the Salvation Army had said this type of shelter would require a relaxing of their policy about taking in people under the influence.

The Salvation Army had ruled out the possibility of providing a wet shelter, where small amounts of alcohol would be dispensed to clients in an effort to prevent them from the painful effects of detoxing while they seek shelter.