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Transitional housing tour focuses on success stories

'I finally have a room over my head and something stable'

Jamie McDonald hopes he is on the home stretch of recovery at Northern Pines

The 60-year-old former construction worker ran into some tough times and moved into Northern Pines after spending some time at the Detox Center on King Street in North Bay. 

"I finally have a room over my head and something stable," said McDonald, who has been living in phase 2 of the housing here for close to 2 and a half years. 

"I have quit drinking for 10 years now and I am trying to quit smoking. I have been kicking myself as I go." 

McDonald spoke to the media Monday morning as part of a tour of the Northern Pines facility which is also connected to the low barrier homeless shelter on Chippewa Street in North Bay. 

"I think it's the most important thing because I think there is some stigma and the community about who might live here," said  Susan Rinneard, Executive Director, Crisis Centre North Bay.  

"Jamie is just like you and I, he is no different than you and I. He fell on some hard times and this program is helping him get his life back."

Rinneard believes some of the tenants are getting their lives back. She says some are doing cleaning work inside the facility while others are taking steps forward like finding part-time work. 

"I think there's a real struggle to know exactly what we're doing and what benefits these programs have," she said.  

"So we do see the benefits. We see some of the clients that we have here just spoke to the relationships that they're now getting relationships back with their family rejections are under control. Their physical and mental health has been stabilized. They're receiving counseling. So I think it's important that the public sees that this prevents more homelessness, and it helps our community members." 

When asked how many success stories of clients who have started at ground zero and moved through the transitional housing, officials could only use the word, "multiple," when describing the number of individuals who are back living independently without these supports. 

Media were taken for a tour of the low barrier shelter along with a look inside the rooms in phase 1 and phase two of the Northern Pines transitional housing.  They also got a glimpse at the phase three portion inside the former OPP building which is expected to include new onsite health services offered by the Asstertive Community Treatment Team (ACT Team) and Rapid Access Addictions Medicine (RAAM) clinic as part of a partnership with the North Bay Regional Health Centre. 

Phase three is expected to open in the fall of 2024. 


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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