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
- Elevator workers picket courthouse construction
- Picketing elevator maintenance workers greeted crews heading in to work at the new courthouse in Thunder Bay on Friday morning. more »
- Drones could help fight forest fires
- Unmanned planes could soon be helping fight forest fires in the northwest if a Lakehead University professor's research pans out. more »
- Stranded campers get out of park on temporary road
- Campers and staff at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park made it out of the park last night. more »
- First Nations hit hard by 'suicide contagion'
- A Sudbury clinical psychologist says young people are more likely to consider suicide if they know of someone their age who has taken their own life. more »
Top News Headlines
- Washington police blame bridge collapse on Alberta trucker
- Royal Bank pledges not to outsource jobs for cash savings
- Canada ranks 3rd last in paid vacations
- Group calls for probe of Tory database used in election robocalls