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Pete Palangio Emergency Homeless Shelter decision coming next week

'There have been a lot of discussions and a lot of scenarios but everything is being presented to the board next week'
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Pete Palangio rink is a temporary Emergency Homeless Shelter. Jeff Turl/BayToday.

The fate of the 24-hour low barrier emergency centre at Pete Palangio arena will be decided next week. 

North Bay city councillor Dave Mendicino is the chair of Nipissing District Housing Corporation and a board member with District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board (DSSAB), says the topic will be a key point of discussion during next Wednesday's DSSAB board meeting. 

"There are some options that are going to be presented to the board next week in terms of short and long term solutions to the low barrier," said Mendicino.

See related: What it is like being homeless in a pandemic

See related: Stickhandling through the challenges of operating a hockey rink turned homeless shelter

Mendicino says the funding for the facility expires at the end of June.   

"Basically we are going to give staff direction at next Wednesday's board meeting on moving forward. There is really no update at this time on what happens after because there have been a lot of discussions and a lot of scenarios but everything is being presented to the board next week. Decisions will come out of that board meeting." 

The homeless shelter was moved to Pete Palangio arena back in mid-April. It was one of many city facilities that were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mendicino admits operating the facility has had its challenges. 

"This vulnerable population, they are an extremely challenging group and we learned a lot of things about delivering a low barrier shelter and I think we have done a good job of that and all that we have learned over the past few months is going to be brought to the table," he said.    

But officials believe it has been a benefit to the homeless. 

"I think this is the best location that we have had at this point because it serves all your needs. It is a big location, it has all the needs of showers and space and the positive COVID side versus the shelter side so it does all of that for us, and it is not in the middle of the city," said Mary Davis, executive director of Nipissing Mental Health Housing Support Service in an interview earlier this spring.  

"There is a lot of good growth here and some good connections have been created for these folks and provide a place for these people to feel safe," said Bryan Eade, an outreach worker with Nipissing Mental Health Housing & Support Services.  

"It is a struggling time for a lot of individuals out there regardless if they have any issues with homelessness or mental health or addictions or anything like that."

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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