Sudbury Salvation Army in early stages of replacing downtown men's shelter

A service for some of Greater Sudbury's homeless is looking for a new home.

New Life Centre on Larch Street is about 60 years old, repairs would be costly for charity

Bruce Shirran took over as executive director of the Salvation Army in Sudbury four months ago. (Angela Gemmill/CBC)

A service for some of Greater Sudbury's homeless is looking for a new home.

The Salvation Army's New Life Centre is the downtown site for the agency's men's shelter, and it also houses its administration offices at 146 Larch Street.

But, the building is about 60 years old, and the charity is now in the early stages of looking for a replacement building, according to executive director Major Bruce Shirran.

He said the facility is not fully accessible to people with disabilities, and too many repairs are needed to make the site work much longer.

Repairs would be too costly

"The cost to renovate this is far beyond what the Salvation Army can possibly afford at this particular time. It's just the age of the building would not be conducive to that at all."

The Salvation Army is moving forward with its housing-first model to provide more permanent supportive housing, although Shirran admits they still have a long way to go.

"We'd be looking for a building that provides us with opportunity to still provide an emergency shelter facility, but space that could be developed into apartment units, where we could actually house people on a more long-term basis."

"If there is available space, somebody's got a building they'd like to gift to the Salvation Army, we'd be more than happy to look into that possibility," Shirran said. 
The Salvation Army's New Life Centre on Larch Street in Sudbury was built in 1956. It's used as a men's shelter and administrative offices. (Angela Gemmill/CBC)

Christmas fundraising

As for finding the money to move forward, the Salvation Army holds a number of fundraisers during the Christmas season. But, Shirran said those funds are already earmarked for programs and services — not new a building.

In Sudbury, the Salvation Army operates a men's shelter (New Life Centre on Larch Street), a women and families shelter (Cedar Place on Cedar Street) and programs through its Community Family Services (on Notre Dame Avenue).

The agency collects toys through an annual toy drive, and then provides supported families with Christmas hampers filled with a turkey dinner and presents for the children.

The Santa Shuffle, a five kilometre run/walk — which is planned for this Saturday at College Boreal — raises money for the two shelters.

And finally, the Christmas Kettle Campaign, which sets up donation buckets at local retail stores, helps raise money to support between 800 - 1,000 families in Sudbury.

"That particular fundraising supports the community on an annual basis, not just at Christmas time, but throughout the entire year." ​

With files from Angela Gemmill