Sioux Lookout shelter fears loss of town funding
Homeless shelter leader says council's decision to end financial support a 'misunderstanding'
Posted: Mar 16, 2012 10:15 AM ET
Last Updated: Mar 16, 2012 10:02 AM ET
A homeless shelter in Sioux Lookout is fighting for municipal funding, after its town council recently voted to discontinue supporting the Out of the Cold program.
Susan Barclay, who manages the Out of the Cold shelter, said the decision is based on misunderstanding.
“There's a fear I think was portrayed ... that we're duplicating services,” Barclay said. “We're definitely not doing that. We're providing a very unique service to a number of people who need it here in this community. Council, I don't think, understands how our partnerships are working."
Barclay said about 12 people use the shelter every night.
But unlike most Out of the Cold programs in Ontario, this one goes beyond providing a meal and a place to sleep. Staff also helps clients apply for housing, develop life skills and get addiction counselling.
But Sioux Lookout mayor Dennis Leney says a reduction in services isn't a concern for him.
"A shelter should be a shelter,” Leney said “And I don't think it should be anything else."
Leney said the program has plenty of money and is operating with a surplus.
Barclay acknowledged that the organization has money in the bank, but it's designated for an emergency fund and capital fund for repairs — repairs that are often necessary because it's an old building.
But the issue appears to be more than just money. The mayor said he’s heard complaints from Sioux Lookout residents who say that shelter citizens loiter downtown during the day.
"It seems that an awful lot have been here for an awful number of years," Leney said. "You get to see these people all the time downtown ... if this program is working so well why are they in the centre for two or three years?"
Barclay said if the mayor and councillors knew the hardships the shelter's clients face, they would be more sympathetic. She said she still hopes to change their minds — council has allowed Barclay to make a presentation at the next meeting on March 21.
Latest Thunder Bay News Headlines
- Michipicoten River watershed under flood warning
- The Ministry of Natural Resources issued a flood warning Tuesday afternoon for the Michipicoten River watershed, near White River and Wawa. more »
- Avian Cholera kills Thunder Bay turkeys
- The mystery behind the deaths of some turkeys in the Mountain Road area seems to have been solved with the help of a wildlife pathologist. more »
- Fort William First Nation assessing flood damage
- Flooded homes and washed out roads prompted Fort William First Nation to declare a state of emergency. more »
- Horwath says NDP will support Ontario Liberal budget
- Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says her party will support the Liberal budget, avoiding a spring election, after the premier agreed to the NDP's call for an independent financial accountability officer. more »
Top News Headlines
- Search for deadly Oklahoma tornado survivors nears end
- The search for survivors and bodies following the most powerful type of tornado in an Oklahoma City suburb that levelled a school and killed at least nine children on Monday is almost over. more »
- Deadly Oklahoma tornado confirmed as most powerful type
- Emergency workers neared the end of their search Tuesday afternoon for survivors in Moore, Okla., following a deadly tornado that weather officials said was now classified among the most powerful type of twister. more »
- Only 1 set of human remains found at Millard farm, police say
- Hamilton police have confirmed that they are dealing with only a single set of human remains at the Waterloo region farm of Dellen Millard. more »
- Rob Ford faces more calls to address crack allegations
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford went back to work after a holiday weekend, but he kept his mouth shut about an alleged video that two published reports say shows him smoking what appears to be a crack pipe. more »