Shelters and Warming Centres:
The Off the Street low barrier shelter has 35 beds. On Friday January 14, 2022, it had 11 empty beds; on January 15, it had 10 empty beds; and on January 16, it had three empty beds.
Other emergency shelter beds include up to 26 at Cedar Place for women and families, which had available beds all weekend, and four at Sudbury Action Centre for Youth (SACY), which was at full capacity this weekend.
The SACY warming centre at 199 Larch St. can provide for up to 32 people indoors. The SACY warming centre for youth at 95 Pine St. can provide for up to 10 people indoors. These warming centres are often at full capacity, and some people who use these programs are not homeless. Staff work to prioritize the homeless for entry as well as encourage people to leave for a while so others can enter. If there are lineups outside of the warming centre or the shelter, this could be caused by screening for COVID-19. Staff try to conduct the screening as quickly as possible on cold nights.
There is total capacity of 65 shelter beds and 42 indoor warming spaces. On the evening of January 15, 2022, the total shelter beds were at 77 per cent capacity.
Memorial Park Encampment:
An estimated 12 to 16 people remain in Memorial Park. Staff continue to make progress in addressing the various encampments throughout the city by offering assistance and obtaining consent to confirm registry information for the By-Name List. Through these responses, the team has been able to connect with multiple individuals to work toward permanent housing solutions.
Despite available shelter space, those remaining in the park are resistant to accepting this service. Outreach teams continue to work with them to find alternate housing options.
Some people have had a service restriction placed on them for unsafe behaviour, including weapons and violent behaviour, which is unsafe for the other shelter users. Service restrictions are rarely permanent. They can vary from one day to longer term depending on the severity of the incident and can often be resolved with a meeting with the program manager. A service restriction at one program does not automatically result in a service restriction at another program, therefore a person who is restricted from a shelter can still attend at the warming centre as long as they maintain behaviour that is safe for all.
To date, 142 people have been added to the by-name list since inception in July. Of the 142 individuals, 41 have been housed and 14 have been deactivated from the list due to a change in circumstances. There are currently 87 individuals actively homeless on the list. Of the 87 individuals, 24 are staying in encampments, 16 unsheltered, 19 in shelter, and 28 are provisionally accommodated or “unknown.” Of the individuals staying in encampments or unsheltered, some frequent shelter from time to time.
Extreme Cold Weather Alert Program:
The Extreme Cold Weather Alert program is an initiative funded by the City of Greater Sudbury to protect those who are most vulnerable to intensely cold weather conditions. This Alert will put into action a short-term emergency plan to increase community services when the temperature is predicted to be below -15 degrees Celsius, below -20 with a wind chill, or when Environment Canada issues a storm watch or weather warning. People on the street will be encouraged to voluntarily access shelters and services. Individuals who may be at risk due to low temperatures in their homes are also eligible for these services.
The Community Outreach van also conducts wellness checks on individuals to ensure they can help bring them to a warm, safe place either to their home, a shelter or the warming centre.
Since October 2021 the City has been working under an approved Encampment Plan. There have been no evictions from the encampments. On occasion, a notice is placed on an abandoned tent to provide notice that the tent will be removed if it is no longer being used.
The Encampment plan includes active involvement from City Social Services and By-law sections, as well as community outreach and Indigenous partners. The City works collaboratively with community partners to support individuals who may be living outdoors, in tents, or experiencing homelessness. They ensure everyone is treated with kindness, compassion and nonjudgement. Front line staff are going above and beyond during this pandemic to ensure programs and services for our vulnerable population can continue to operate.
Outreach staff walk and drive to locations where people are known to be and offer help to individuals by providing a wide range of services aimed at intervention, reintegration and social and community re-adaptation. Services provided include referral to community resources, suicide intervention, immediate first aid, health support and transportation to essential services. They also provide blankets, clothing and supplies to those in need. During an Extreme Cold Weather Alert, the outreach team operates the outreach van overnight to transport people to safe places, such as shelters and warming centres.