As many of you know, Barrie Out of the Cold has been ‘temporarily’ hosted by our church partners for 18 seasons in a row. This is a wonderful expression of support by these partners and we are indebted to them, as we are our 1100-strong volunteer corps. We have been exploring the option of moving to a single site which would present many advantages and, as well, integrating our services with community partners that would provide a more realistic chance of actually ending homelessness.
We are pleased to announce that we are in discussions with the David Busby Street Centre to provide such an integrated service from one location, at 88-90 Mulcaster Street. The earliest such a move is expected would be for the 2017-18 season – or two complete Out of the Cold seasons from now. This is because the facility plan is still being developed and there are many ‘moving pieces’ to the puzzle. In any event, our volunteer network will be as important as ever in the lead-up to this move and, indeed, in the new facility as well. This process is being facilitated by ‘Pathways’ which is a multi-agency planning group dedicated to ending homelessness in our community.
We have put together a few questions and answers to help understand this initiative:
Q: Why is BOOTC in discussion to combine its services with the DBSC (and other partners)?
A: BOOTC has been focused on providing emergency shelter services for 18+ years to the homeless and marginalized but it was never intended to be a ‘permanent’ solution. By integrating our services with other providers such as DBSC we can work together to actually reduce the need for emergency shelter services and achieve the goal of ending homelessness. By co-locating on one site, we will be able to offer our guests a consistent, efficient, multi-service experience.
Q: When will BOOTC leave the churches/move into 88-90 Mulcaster St?
A: The timing is ‘fluid’ since there are many pieces to the process but our expectation is that we will be in 88-90 Mulcaster for the 2017-18 season i.e. two complete Out of the Cold seasons from now. This timing is subject to change.
Q: What will the combined organization/structure look like?
A: This is the subject of ongoing discussion with DBSC and other partners and the results will be announced in the months to come.
Q: Will volunteers still be needed in the new organization?
A: Yes, we expect that volunteers will be needed both during the period up to the relocation as well as part of the new service delivery at Mulcaster Street. Our 1100+ volunteers are our most valuable resource and we will do everything possible to ensure a smooth transition to the new site.
Q: Will fund-raising be required for this new, combined facility?
A: Yes but we are at an early stage of planning the combined facility and capital/operating budgets will only be determined after the facility plan is confirmed, sometime early in 2016.
Q: What is the role of ‘Pathways’ in this new arrangement?
A: ‘Pathways’ is a multi-agency planning group that is facilitating the transition by helping with facility planning and co-ordination of services. The immediate focus of our discussions is with DBSC and Pathways is assisting by facilitating these discussions.
Barrie Out of the Cold is extremely grateful to its community of volunteers, donors, friends and partners for their ongoing support. We will continue to post updates of further developments. Thank you.