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Second warming centre to open in city

'The new beds at 496 Main Street, East are in addition to a dozen or more spots that will be available at the Warming Centre location which will be housed within the Gathering Place on Cassells Street'
20191113 Dennis Chippa warming centre
Dennis Chippa, executive director of the Gathering Place, is excited about the new facility. Photo by Chris Dawson/BayToday.

There will be at least 30 overnight beds available in North Bay this winter for the homeless to come in from the cold.

Nipissing Mental Health Housing & Support Services (NMHHSS) announced today that it is partnering with community agencies to open a second warming Centre location with 18 beds in the former gd2go Restaurant at 496 Main Street East.

The new beds are in addition to a dozen or more spots that will be available at the warming centre within the Gathering Place on Cassells Street. The two sites, which will be ready as soon as possible, will operate independently, but work cooperatively by pooling volunteers and other resources, according to a news release.

“A number of partners came together very quickly to ensure that there will be enough beds in the community during the coldest winter months,” said Mary Davis, Executive Director of NMHHSS. “These warming centres will not only provide people with a safe, warm place to sleep but will also link individuals to support services.

The two warming centres, which will operate seven days a week from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m., will help meet an increasing demand in the community adds the release. Although both sites will operate on a temporary basis during this winter season, discussions are already underway on long-term solutions.

“We have seen a growing number of people experiencing homelessness in our community since the Warming Centre first opened its doors seven years ago. These additional beds and resources will provide much needed temporary shelter for those at risk,” said Dennis Chippa, Executive Director of The Gathering Place. “Our goal is to make sure there’s a safe place for everyone.”

Dennis Chippa admits the news is an emotional relief for him. 

“We can identify 10 to 12 people right now that can come into our place every day that need this and we were genuinely concerned even with the maximum that we can do which is 17 or 18 cots if that would be enough,” said Chippa.  

“Between what we can do and what they can do here at Gd2Go it is going to be exactly what we need.”.

The additional beds are the result of a collaboration involving multiple partners, including:

  • Nipissing Mental Health Housing & Support Services,
  • Gathering Place,
  • District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board
  • City of North Bay,
  • People for Equal Partnership in Mental Health Nipissing
  • North Bay Branch of the Canadian Red Cross.

"This initiative would not have been possible without the generous donation of gd2go and the Knox family," says the release.

“Transitional housing is a priority issue identified by the Mayor’s Roundtable and we look forward to seeing a recommendation on a more permanent way to reduce homelessness in our community,” said Coun. Dave Mendicino, Chair of  DNSSAB’s Housing Committee.

Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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