Huron County, Ontario – Opening November 16, the County of Huron’s Huron Out of the Cold: Heart to Home program expands on the efforts of the previous Out of the Cold program, with increased funding and staff specially trained in trauma informed care, substance use, and mental health services. The new program aims to provide an emergency shelter that also offers wrap-around supports for homeless individuals in Huron County.
“It’s important that we build relationships with vulnerable members in our community, including those who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless,” says Warden Jim Ginn. “Our Social and Property Services staff along with CMHA Elgin-Middlesex and Choices for Change will be coordinating an emergency shelter that also provides wrap-around services with a long-term goal of ensuring that all Huron County community members have a home.”
Through a partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and Choices for Change, Huron Out of the Cold: Heart to Home will be staffed with trained professionals and aims to provide wrap-around supports and services with a goal of transitioning guests into permanent housing solutions.
“As a community mental health agency, we know how critical and necessary wrap-around supports are in helping individuals who are experiencing or are at risk for homelessness.” says Beth Mitchell, CEO of CMHA Elgin-Middlesex. “We look forward to working closely with our partners and the community to ensure those most vulnerable are receiving the supports they need, such as a listening ear, coping strategies, a connection to housing resources and other services, and more.”
“Choices for Change is very pleased to be part of this very important initiative,” says Choices for Change Executive Director, Catherine Hardman. “Although not all individuals experiencing homelessness have addiction and/or mental health issues, it is important to have that expertise available for those that do. We are glad to work with CMHA to provide support to those in the shelter and assist in their move to more permanent housing.”
The emergency shelter will be located in Goderich at Lakeshore United Church and will be able to accommodate up to 15 individuals per evening, with meals provided, for the cold weather season.
“The Town of Goderich is supportive of this important initiative being located in our community,” says Goderich Mayor, John Grace “Ensuring the safety of all of our community members during the colder season is of critical importance. I am glad that we have been able to work with the County of Huron and all of the partner agencies and municipalities on the Homelessness Task Force to make this emergency shelter happen.”
Through the County of Huron Homelessness Task Force, efforts to advocate on behalf of local communities and vulnerable individuals continue on the municipal and provincial level, including member representation by the County’s Warden and local mayors from the Town of Goderich, Municipality of South Huron, Township of North Huron, Township of Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh, and Municipality of Central Huron. Local government in Huron County is committed to working together to address and prevent homelessness in Huron communities.
The County of Huron and its partner agencies are dedicated to taking both immediate and long-term actions to improve the quality of life for all residents of Huron County. These actions encompass inclusivity and awareness of intersectionality, acknowledging the differences and complexities for every individual in need of support.
The County extends its thanks to the Lakeshore United Church, and to every other agency, community group, and volunteer, who has and continues to contribute time and resources for Huron’s Out of the Cold program and showing compassion to taking care of the community’s most vulnerable persons.
For more information on Huron Out of the Cold: Heart to Home, including emergency shelter contacts, please visit www.HuronCounty.ca/housing.
The County of Huron asks the community to continue respecting all public health guidelines, including performing hand hygiene, practicing physical distancing, wearing masks and staying home if ill. Stay informed on the COVID-19 situation in Huron County by visiting the Huron-Perth Public Health website.