Out of the Cold overnight program ends, meal program to continue
First United Church, the last church to hold the overnight Out of the Cold program, has decided to stop offering overnight shelter space but will continue offering a meal and evening hospitality, according to the church's program coordinator.
A group of volunteers met on Friday and decided to stop doing overnights.
"Our very open plan is to provide a meal, some sort of evening activities, and send people on their way at 10:00 [p.m.] with a bus ticket for anyone who stays that long. At that time we will check with them to see where they are going and that they are heading for some type of shelter," wrote Cathie Stewart Savage in an email.
Stewart Savage says if there is enough need, the church would look at reopening for overnights to provide shelter.
Last fall, almost all of the churches that provided shelter and hot meals as part of the Out of the Cold program, stopped offering services. In response, the region partnered with several social services agencies including the YWCA to open a 50-bed transitional shelter on Frederick St. in Kitchener.
The transitional shelter closed down in April, because YWCA said it was able to find space for people in the formal shelter system or in supportive housing.