KDSB partners with First Step Women’s Shelter, Municipality of Sioux Lookout for Cold Weather Drop-in Centre
Mike Lawrence - Staff Writer
Some relief for those out in the cold this winter.
In a press release dated Jan 13, the Kenora District Services Board (KDSB) announced that it, in partnership with The First Step Women’s Shelter and The Municipality of Sioux Lookout, will be operating a Cold Weather Drop-in Centre at 66A Front Street starting on January 17.
The hours of operation will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the centre will provide light meals, refreshments, access to phones and the internet.
In the release, Tana Troniak, Executive Director of First Step Women’s Shelter (FSWS) stated, “Having a place for vulnerable individuals to seek warmth is essential. With the adverse weather that Sioux Lookout experiences and the continuation of the pandemic, the drop-in centre offers refuge from the conditions and a positive outlet for those that are feeling isolated or alone. We hope to be that community connection for the individuals that access this service,”
Kenora District Services Board CAO Henry Wall commented, “It is just wonderful to see the Municipality and community organizations stepping up to ensure that through these bitterly cold months our vulnerable community members are supported. We are pleased for KDSB to be able to partner with the Municipality and the First Step Women’s Shelter to open a warming centre.”
Wall added, “The centre doesn’t just support individuals experiencing homelessness. Food insecurity is a huge challenge in Sioux lookout regardless of age. From our young to our elderly, way too many are experiencing food insecurities. So, it’ll do more than just providing a warm place for people that are experiencing homelessness, it’s actually going to be a place that can support people that do have homes but are having a really difficult times making ends meet. For the Municipality to find a location was excellent, and to have the First Step Women’s Shelter step up again and be the operator of the warming place, it was really great to see everybody pitching in to make this a reality.”
The release goes on the explain that while KDSB is providing the necessary funding, the Municipality of Sioux Lookout has provided the operation location, while the First Step Women’s Shelter will staff the centre during its hours of operation. The drop-in centre is scheduled to run until at least April 30, at which time the weather and needs of the community will be reassessed.