Thursday, December 30, 2004

INN from the Cold Newmarket Ontario Canada

INN from the Cold Newmarket Ontario Canada

Inn From the cold program in Newmarket is a program that just opened its doors in order to help out the homeless. I have been following this program's development through the local newspaper's website for quite sometime. I just wanted to scream when they were having problems finding a space in Newmarket to hold their homeless programs. First, the programs. The programs are designed to allow the homeless a warm place to sleep and eat when the temperature gets cold outside.

Now they finally have a home in a Newmarket church. However, before the program found a home at the church, every place that offered up a home was rejected either by the region's board of health or the town's fire department over various problems. Why my screaming? Well my church in Aurora (not far from Newmarket) had an Inn from the Cold program a couple of years ago supported by the region and the city of Toronto. Then the city of Toronto pulled the funding because the program was geographically located outside the city of Toronto's borders. This funding was pulled, even though, many of the homeless were were bussed up from Toronto.

So now I was seeing that the program in Newmarket was having problems getting off the ground. So I wanted to just scream that my church had already passed the fire inspections and health reports required before and still probably would pass considering there is a YMCA Nursery school in there as well as many other non-profit organizations use the facility on a constant basis. However, the nights that the homeless program was going to be run would have been fine since the church had no problem holding the programs on a Saturday night. Adding the Friday nights wouldn't have been a problem either. Volunteers from Newmarket could easily make the short trip to Aurora as well as adding more volunteers from the church and other churches in Aurora.

The fact that the program did not have any people to serve the first weekend is perhaps not surprising. According to the newspaper article in the local paper, the last weekend nobody showed up to use the Inn from the Cold's services. Perhaps this there are two issues that needed to be sorted out. The first is that the program had just found a spot to house the homeless before opening and thereby not allowing enough time for the word to get out to the homeless that this service was being offered at a certain time and place. The other problem might have been the group focussed on the homeless of the Newmarket and immediate area. When my church ran their program, they had drivers and bus tickets available at Finch Subway station to bring people up to the Aurora in order to take part in the program. This program had more people show up than there were beds and quite often had to turn people away due to the numbers allowed.

Thus I propose in the interest of spending the money raised wisely and to ensure the volunteers time is also used wisely that the Newmarket program open their shelter up to homeless from all of York Region to start and then to Toronto in order to generate the numbers.

All in all though, it is a good idea to provide support for the homeless of the area. Therefore I wish them the best of luck.

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