Sudbury's New Life Centre home to more than just homeless men
There will always be a need for emergency shelters, says Sudbury's John Howard Society
Men who are newly released from jail often rely on Sudbury's New Life Centre because of their residency requirements.
To follow the conditions of their parole or when they're out on bail, the men who don't already have a permanent residence often use the shelter as their home and address.
The Salvation Army in Sudbury announced this week the shelter will be closing on May 10, 2019, for financial reasons.
Some clients currently living at the shelter are nervous about the future.
When the shelter closes, if they haven't found a permanent residence, some might end up back in custody.
Nathan Sweeney, who was recently released from jail, is one of them.
"I'm actually serving a house arrest sentence right now here and it doesn't end until [May] 17th so that gives me a little extra time where I'm going to have to really bunker down because I have to be on house arrest somewhere," said Sweeney.
He doesn't have a permanent residence in the city so he's staying at the shelter while he's on house arrest. Sweeney was only there for a couple of days when he was told it was closing.
"So a lot of these folks will end up not being able to be under house arrest or not being able to receive bail or you know, have the condition of residency for bail because if they don't have a place to live then they will be in custody," said John Rimore, the executive director of the John Howard Society of Sudbury.
"Which is a real shame. It costs three times as much to house somebody in a custody facility than it does to have them in an emergency shelter."
He calls it a hidden cost to the tax-payers, and says most people don't realize how much it costs to house people in custody facilities.
The city's Homelessness Network is currently trying to find a solution to losing the only men's shelter in Sudbury.
Rimore also says the John Howard Society often sees the shelter being used by men who are just getting out of jail who are not from Sudbury.
"They're leaving the Sudbury jail, they need to get back home, they have no place to stay, so a couple of days, three days in an emergency shelter for men, is something, at least they have a warm place to stay and a meal and then within two to three days they may be off on their way back to their home town," said Rimore.
He says there will always been a need for emergency shelters, for both men and women, who for a short period of time find themselves needing a safe place to stay.