In its first year, Sudbury's new homeless shelter for women and children has been busier than expected — and there are many different reasons why people end up at Cedar Place.

The 20-bed shelter in downtown Sudbury is run by the Salvation Army. Manager Cindy Bertolo said those beds are rarely empty.


Shelter manager Cindy Bertolo says in the year Sudbury's Cedar Place has been open, rarely has a bed in the shelter been empty. (Erik White/CBC)

"There's many [people] that actually have been evicted, some that can't keep up with the high cost of hydro, gas, telephone to maintain their present units," she said.

Bertolo said it's more proof that the city needs more affordable housing.

There are also people like 32-year-old Crystal Chirsky who, along with her two children, stayed at Cedar Place for two months this summer.

She said she was fleeing an abusive relationship and was surprised by how many other women were in the shelter for the same reason.

"I knew there [were] women that went through the abuse and went through the bad relationships, but I didn't know how much and how high it actually was," Chirsky said.

"Pretty much every woman I met here went through the same thing."

'I'm home'

As Chirsky's 3-year-old daughter played with her car keys, she recounted how they came to live in a homeless shelter this past summer.

"I just wanted to hide. Hide completely," she said. "I felt small and inadequate."

The 32-year-old says though she felt ashamed at first, but eventually got comfortable at Cedar Place.

The family now lives in a townhouse in the Minnow Lake area, but she still comes back to Cedar Place a few times a week to visit.

"I come here and … I'm home," she said.

"I just go in the kitchen and grab myself a coffee … I didn't think I would feel that way about it, but, yeah, I do."

The Salvation Army also houses families with men at local Sudbury motels.