Out of the Cold Emergency Winter Shelter seeking new space
Former space at St. Matthew's United Church on Barrington Street 'wasn't working,' says organizer
Out of the Cold Emergency Winter Shelter in Halifax is looking for a new space.
For a decade, the shelter operated out of St. Matthew's United Church on Barrington Street between December and the end of April from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
But Jeff Karabanow, a founding member of the shelter, said the space "just wasn't working" anymore.
"We decided to go public and see if anybody has any ideas that we could pursue around a kind of healthy space sanctuary for those living on the street." Karabanow said.
The ideal location would be accessible by bus, could hold 15 beds, have a minimum of two bathrooms, a kitchen and a hangout space separate from the sleeping area, he said.
The Out of the Cold Emergency Winter Shelter is a last resort for people on the street. The shelter has taken in couples, people with pets and people with mental health and addiction issues.
Long-term housing options needed
He said part of the reason why they left St. Matthew's is so the organization could try a supportive housing model.
"Shelters are Band-Aids. They are important as an urgent response to somebody who has absolutely nothing that night," said Karabanow.
"But we would love to be finding some space or working in some environment where we could be housing in a long-term manner so they can become citizens again."
If Out of the Cold is unable to secure a spot for this December, it's unclear what will happen. But Karabanow said he's hopeful the organization will be able to provide support this winter.
"Winters are extremely rough, obviously, for folks living on the streets," he said.
The organization has 150 volunteers and eight hired staff.