New grassroots group in Sudbury to provide transitional care for homeless, at-risk population

There's a new grassroots group that aims to help the vulnerable and at-risk population in Greater Sudbury reintegrate into society.

Founder Jehnna Morin says workers, volunteers to help each client with individualized needs

Jehnna Morin is the founder and executive director of the Sudbury Centre for Transitional Care. It's a group of workers and volunteers who help the vulnerable and at-risk populations reintegrate into society. (Ezra Belotte-Cousineau/CBC )

A new grassroots group in Sudbury is hoping to help the vulnerable and at-risk populations reintegrate and rehabilitate.

The Sudbury Centre for Transitional Care was created recently by workers and volunteers.

"[The centre's] purpose is to help our most vulnerable populations integrate into society," said founder and executive director Jehnna Morin. She added that this could be with housing, mental health, employment or even just basic needs.

"You name it, we literally walk hand-in-hand with our clients and our population downtown," she said.

Morin, an addictions counsellor with lived experience, says the centre will provide individualized rehabilitation plans for each client based on their needs. The workers and volunteers will then help each individual navigate whichever system they're working their way through.

"Because [transitioning out of homelessness] can get very fragmented and daunting — it's a daunting process for the most part — having to make this phone call and that phone call and where to go next," she said.

"That alone, for someone that is suffering from trauma and triggers, it can be very difficult."

Morin explained that when the centre starts to work with its clients, the workers will begin with a navigational intake — "the basics about them, about their needs, about their current situation." Then they help the client work through their rehabilitation needs.

"So we really peel back the layers that made our individual get to where they are and then also further their progress of their selves, etc," she said.

Not only will the centre help those who are experiencing homelessness, but also "those who are a hairline away from at risk of homelessness," Morin said.

"We certainly want to help our individuals through it."

What about duplicating services? 

Morin says the centre is not afraid of duplicating services already in place by other local agencies, and relates the current situation to a baby boom.

"You would need additional educational resources, that's a given. Just like this, there was a boom in mental illness, homelessness and addictions, and it's only getting worse."

She says there was even a conversation with the person in charge of the Greater Sudbury Homelessness Network, who told the centre that there needs to be more resources available. 

"There isn't enough. There aren't enough shelters. There aren't enough meals." 

 "We encompass all the resources and we do want to be the most educated in the resources that are there so that we can provide a more personal wellness plan for each and every individual," Morin said.

"It's not linear, addiction is not linear, homelessness is not linear."

Sudbury's Centre for Transitional Care is still looking for a permanent home, and only completed the process to become a registered charity. (Sudbury's Centre for Transitional Care Facebook page)

Field outreach to begin soon

Morin said the centre is in its research and development phase. They want to provide the resources to their clients but they're collecting raw data from the local vulnerable population.

"So what brought them there? Was it addictions, was it a mental illness?" she said.

"A lot of this data will help our homelessness network provide better services as well and more integrated services for our individuals." 

The field outreach will begin next Monday with teams going out three times a week and conducting peer support conversations with individuals.

"As well as finding out what their basic needs are and then seeing what their wellness plan would look like."

Still looking for permanent space 

The group is still in search of a permanent home in Sudbury's downtown core to conduct some of its programming.

Once they find that space, there are plans to create a shelter as well, Morin said.

"Where we can actually temporarily house some of our individuals while they seek permanent housing and permanent stable housing," Morin said.

The group is finishing up the process to become a registered charity. Morin says they've also written a few grant applications and are also looking for funding from local provincial or national corporations.

With files from Ezra Belotte-Cousineau