A pilot program in Sudbury that gave people with substance abuse issues a place to sleep is wrapping up.
The Salvation Army’s Major Mike Hennessey said it's hard to measure if the Out of the Cold shelter was a success, as there's no formal record of the people that dropped in over the last six weeks.
No one was turned away for being drunk or intoxicated, and the program had as many as 19 people dropping by in one night, he said. As many as 15 people slept over.
Those numbers alone speak volumes, he said.
“So as far as statistics, we know that those were what you might call … accomplishments or goals being met or realized,” Hennessey said.
The shelter was relatively peaceful during the pilot project, although Hennessey noted there was the odd case when someone became unruly.
“There were occurrences that we were glad to have the presence of the security staff, but there wasn't the need to have that sense of strong arm, if you will,” he said.
“The presence of the security staff was very helpful and it was very calming to the situation to the environment and to the users of the program.”
This shelter was only funded to run until Tuesday morning.
As for a continued need to shelter the homeless on cold nights, the Elgin Street Mission is coming to the rescue.
Pastor Rene Souilliere said it will open its doors on some April nights, something it doesn't normally do.
“This year has been a pretty cold winter, and a long winter, and we may still have a couple more extreme cold weather alerts in April,” he said.
The Mission acts as a warming station, even for those who have been drinking, but they can't sleep over.
The city has committed to finding a permanent solution to make sure everyone has a place to sleep on cold winter nights.
Hennessey said the Salvation Army is not a good choice, because washrooms are not easy to get to and the shelter isn't accessible.