Homeless shelter being used on regular basis

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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TRURO - A homeless shelter that opened at the beginning of January has been made use of every night.
"There's been at least one person using a shelter every night, sometimes up to four people," said Cory Somers, site leader at Immanuel Baptist Church, one of three Truro churches providing space for the Get Out of the Cold Truro project.
"I fully expect there to be more guests when the temperatures get colder," said Somers.
Gail Lapointe is one of many volunteers with the program. She said seeing people in need, including one person suffering from frostbite, reminds people of the need for such a service in Truro.
"It really makes people (in the community) take notice of what's needed," said Lapointe. "We are fortunate to have what we have ... we don't have to look for a place to sleep and sometimes we forget that."
Considered guests, people who use the drop-in shelters should be at least 16 years of age. People between the ages of 25 and in their 50s have arrived at the shelters, where they are offered a hot meal and drink, a chance to talk without putting any expectations on them, a matt to sleep on and a change of clothing, if necessary. The shelters are open from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. at Immanuel Baptist (Fridays to Mondays), St. Andrew's (Tuesdays) and First United (Wednesday and Thursdays). Two volunteers are at the site at all times.
"It hasn't been an emotional experience yet ... trust-building needs to take place so people aren't intimidated and know they are not judged," said Somers.
He said the project is reviewed on a consistent basis and its future will be discussed later in the winter.
"If we have a response
that deems it is needed, we will continue."
Donations of supplies are gratefully accepted at the shelter sites.

mchiasson@trurodaily.com

Organizations: Immanuel Baptist Church, First United

Geographic location: TRURO

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Recent comments

  • Gerald
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    This is a wonderful project...I have often wondered how the homeless in Truro were coping with the freezing temperatures we so often experience. I, for one, will definitely be taking food and clothing to the Immanuel Baptist Church....I'm sure they need all the help they can get!! C'mon Truro...let's make this work!!

  • Thom
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    What are these people suppose to do If they have no place to go. I do agree with you that some do abuse this charity. If your so outraged and think these people deserve a better life why dont you lift your hand and help out yourself. I highly doubt you will practice what you preached.

  • Gortex
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    I find it shameful that in 2010, in Truro, that we have people who need a homeless shelter.

    I'm not suggesting that these people should be given free housing and other handouts from the government. Charity is fine, but it's not charity when it's co-erced from us as tax money. They need to work just like everyone else does.

    What shames me is that our system lets some people with mental/physical disabilities not have an opportunity to lead a productive life where they can support themselves. Why aren't there more social workers to help these folks get back on their feet? Why isn't lack of support for mental illness the scandal of the decade?

    We live in a land of plenty. Any Nova Scotian who is willing to do a little work can make a good life for himself. Some people just need a little help in order to get back into the game.

  • Fred
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Why does community services not put these people in a motel until they can find a suitable home?

  • JustMe
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    There has always been and unfortunately there always will be homeless people. I think it's wonderful that there is now somewhere for the homeless to go for the night and a meal and to have someone to talk to. Just because someone has a job doesn't mean they may even be able to afford a place to live anymore! They may be in a bad spot in life and in the process of trying to get back on their feet. I do agree that there is a lack of support for mental illness and that can make it impossible for people to live a normal life which includes getting and keeping a job. It's very sad! I know I will be donating to the church. I just pray that I never have to be the one going into the shelter to stay for the night! It could very easily be any one of us, especially in this economy. We all have our low points in life, some worse then others and they may end up going to a shelter.