Alliston Out of the Cold opened it’s doors for the first time November 15th of 2017and our program ran 7 days a week, through to April 15th 2018. With the help of over 250 volunteers , our community came together in various roles to pull together an INCREDIBLE first year.
The community support the program has received has been nothing short of amazing! What a blessing, that our small but mighty town can pull together with compassion to help people who are struggling to move forward. No wonder people want to stay!
The ‘Out of the Cold’ program concept originated in Toronto in response to the 1986 death of a man experiencing homelessness.
The late Sister Susan Moran, Father John Murphy, and Rev. Canon John Erb, with the help of St. Michael’s High School, made arrangements to provide for a location, food and volunteers for those experiencing homelessness in their area.
A small storefront on St. Clair Ave. was opened on January 15, 1987. From this humble beginning the ‘Out of the Cold’ program concept spread throughout Toronto and into many other cities across Canada.
Without access to a local safe place to rest, a person experiencing homelessness will often resort to accepting a situation that can leave them vulnerable to being taken advantaged of or victimized.
With no program in place, the closest options for available shelter were Barrie, Newmarket or Toronto.
There are a number of factors influencing the rate of homelessness in our area; things like lack of affordable housing to limited community outreach resources for those in need. For a person experiencing homelessness in Alliston, help can seem unattainable. Until recently, there have been few local options for those in need.
Over the last several years, The Well (the outreach hub of Anchor Point Church) has been receiving an increase in requests for housing help. It is here that our founder, Brenda Powling, works as an Addiction and Community Service Worker.
After a number of instances of being unable to adequately address the needs of individuals seeking assistance in the community, Brenda felt convicted to
pursue alternative options for supporting those experiencing homelessness, especially in the cold winter months.
She approached the leadership of Anchor Point Church, who own the building on the corner of Paris and Wellington St. with her idea for the program, to which they graciously agreed!
In early 2017, the Simcoe County Alliance To End Homelessness as well as various churches and community groups, adopted to support the effort.
With the help of some dedicated and passionate individuals, Alliston Out of the Cold became a reality in our community, and is proud to serve those in need.