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Collingwood's motel shelter program keeps running for now

Busby Centre South Georgian Bay board of directors voted to keep funding motel program while work continues to find longer-term homeless shelter option
roofs not tents 2 2022-05-11
Demonstrators line the waterfront in Barrie in May 2022 to bring awareness to the need for long-term solutions and housing instead of temporary shelters for people experiencing homelessness.

The current shelter options for people experiencing homelessness in Collingwood remain open on temporary extensions, but without pandemic response funding, the local model will have to change. 

The former Out of the Cold Collingwood, now called Busby Centre South Georgian Bay, has been offering motel rooms to unsheltered people since early 2020. When Out of the Cold formed in 2019, the plan was to have a permanent shelter within three years. 

Though there is no longer additional government funding for motel rooms to be used as homeless shelter options, the Busby Centre South Georgian Bay board of directors voted to continue with emergency shelter beds by funding motel units while the search for a longer-term solution goes on. 

According to a news release from Busby Centre South Georgian Bay, the County of Simcoe has approved the use of funding for increased outreach and homelessness services in South Georgian Bay for the next two weeks. This funding is meant to support outreach services in Collingwood until March 31, 2023, but it does not cover all the costs of the programs. 

"There is a Busby planning task force currently working on longer-term solution options," states a news release from the Busby Centre South Georgian Bay. "However, in the interim, the Busby Centre believes they have no choice but to continue the motel shelter motel on a reduced capacity to ensure that there is some solution until a better solution is determined."

Busby Centre executive director Sara Peddle said in an interview in June there were between 18 and 20 people experiencing homelessness in Collingwood who were using the hotel emergency shelter service. Others were receiving support from outreach programs in the area. 

"The Busby DETOUR Outreach Team is bracing for supporting the increased unsheltered individuals who are displaced throughout the community and when possible are diverting individuals coming from other communities with warm transfers to their origin community or other supports to avoid adding more individuals to an already over-capacity system of care," states the news release. 

The Busby Centre noted gratitude to volunteers and partners such as the county, the Town of Collingwood, the health unit, Canadian Mental Health Association, Empower Simcoe, Home Horizon, Collingwood Salvation Army, OPP, and others. 

"We hope that the community will continue to support our organization to continue and increase our very important services in the community," states the release. 

For more information, visit busbycentre.ca.