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Monday, January 10, 2011

Extreme/Cold Weather Shelter.

This in the D/N on the 6th,Cold-weather facility has lowered criteria ..... , criteria be damned the only criteria should be that it is open 7 to 7 daily from November through March; a letter in response by Wallace on the 7th .Community should not leave anyone out in cold.

This letter sent by me but unpublished as yet;

I find it interesting the print story “Shelter offers homeless a warm, dry place for the night” is different than originally published on the website as “Cold-weather facility has lowered criteria for opening this year to deal with wet weather.” In fact when originally published on the inter-web the great work that Re/Max is doing was a standalone article.
This is an issue, not about lowered criteria but, of both choice and what is right.
A law was passed in 2009 gave the police the right, when weather was deemed hazardous enough to cause death, to transport the homeless to shelters. Despite this the person still had the choice whether to remain at the shelter or not, they were not legally obligated to stay.
Whether there is a “crowd,” I would say more appropriately a few, who choose not to use shelters it is their choice. The Extreme Weather philosophy, no matter the criteria to determine extreme, effectively removes any choice if shelter is not available due to the determination of someone who has a warm bed every night.
If this were truly, as it should be, a Cold/Wet weather shelter it would be open from November through March not simply when deemed appropriate. If one person contracts pneumonia, from the damp and cold weather, and dies because their choice is removed someone must be held accountable. We need to do what is right and see that this facility is open daily from 7pm to 7am November through March.

There has been some movement on this issue.

Both Walace Malay and I have and continue to lobby council to provide the funding to have the shelter open daily from 7 to 7 as opposed to only when the Social Planner, John Horn, deems the weather to be extreme.

I have put together a cost analysis and met with Councilor Jim Kipp prior to Christmas. As things progressed I then sent it to some of our other city council members, Fred Pattje and Merv Unger, who met with John Horn and Randy Churchil (by-laws) on the 7th. The following day both Wallace and I received this cryptic message from Councilor Unger; "Gord, Wallace, Would the two of you be prepared to serve in a volunteer role if we were to extend shelter at higher temperature levels? Supervisory assistance is one of the biggest challenges. MU"

Wanting some expansion, and e-mailing, re the would you be prepared to serve in a volunteer role we received the following from Fred Pattje, Morning Gord, We hop'e to have Unitarian Church, as well as that institution's neighbours', concurrence early Monday, at which time John Horn will have a clearer idea of what/who is needed to temporarily (till the end of March ) shift to a seven day operation. I'd suggest we wait till then. Cheers, Fred."

Any way both Wallace and I are willing to help out but not to the extent, at least on my part, of volunteering to staff the extra shifts. When the expansion happen it will require at least two more full time employees as well as a part time coordinator to schedule volunteers do payroll etc..

Me I already have one full time paid job and my volunteer commitments equal at least another onwe and a half. I also want to see this create some employment for the balance of this year and for the next one or two that the shelter would be eeded.

Soooo things are looking up and we could see this happen as early as this week. Will keep you all posted.

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