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A new pilot program introduced by Thunder Bay's Shelter House would see a response team created to help get homeless people off the street. (Nicole Ireland/CBC)

Thunder Bay councillors are in favour of the Cold Weather Pilot Project proposed by Shelter House.

The program, which would see a response team created to help get homeless people off the street and into the shelter, would also help transport people to the Salvation Army when the shelter's bed's are full.

Shelter House executive director Patty Hajdu said businesses in the south core are particularly excited “because it is a hotline that they can call, and they can actually get support right away.”

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Shelter House executive director Patty Hajdu. (CBC)

“And, if we can't take care of that person, we'll stay with that person until the appropriate emergency services arrive,” she said.

After giving the program the go-ahead at its meeting Monday night, city council plans to support the program with $35,000 allocated in the 2014 budget. The proposed cost for the four-month pilot program is roughly $96,000.

It is hoped the program will help free up emergency service workers, like police and paramedics, so they can respond to more emergencies.

What is the Cold Weather Pilot Project?

  • Provide shelter for homeless people during the day.
  • Respond to calls concerning people who are intoxicated, or need help, but not medical attention.
  • Transport people to the Salvation Army or the Balmoral Detox Centre.
  • The program will run 12 hours per day. Organizers are currently proposing a shift that runs from 2:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.
  • The program gives Shelter House a vehicle to move people around — a key element that's currently missing.