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MEDIA RELEASE - Still No Date Set for the Opening of the Out of the Cold Shelter.

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

City moves on the Mission as an interim Warming Station but still no date set for the opening of the Out of the Cold Shelter. S-CAP initiates Open Letter to Mayor Elect Brian Bigger for immediate action on the Out of the Cold Shelter.

Today just after the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty (S-CAP) and supporters held a media conference asking why the Out of the Cold Shelter has not yet been opened the City moved a little in response to pressure from S-CAP and others. They will now fund the Mission as a warming station every night until the Out of the Cold Shelter is opened and not only when a cold weather emergency is declared. While this is an important improvement people are not allowed to sleep at the Mission so while people will be able to get warm from the cold they are denied the right to sleep. Also people who are barred from the Mission (often on arbitrary grounds) are only able to get something warm to drink and then are asked to leave.

At the gathering outside the 200 Larch Street location where the Out of the Cold Shelter is to be opened a series of speakers, including Carol Kauppi, Professor of Social Work at Laurentian University, who has been researching homelessness in Sudbury for 15 years, spoke out strongly in support for the immediate opening of the Out of the Cold Shelter. S-CAP also announced the initiation of an open letter calling on Mayor Elect Brian Bigger to take action if the shelter has not been opened when he takes office next week. Initial signers of the open letter also include Mine Mill Local 598/Unifor and the Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy at Laurentian University and many individuals living in poverty, community activists and university professors. The Open letter calls for Brian Bigger to take action and if “the 200 Larch Street location has not been opened as the Out of the Cold Shelter we are asking that you immediately open Tom Davies Square as a temporary Out of the Cold shelter until the Larch Street site is opened.” The Open Letter is attached with the list of initial signers. S-CAP is asking people to sign onto it by the end of Wednesday so it can be sent to Brian Bigger on Thursday. While we were at the Larch Street site today we learned from contract construction workers there that they would finish their work at that site later today.

Following this gathering a delegation of 10 members and supporters of S-CAP, accompanied by one media outlet, went to speak to Catherine Matheson, theGeneral Manager Community Development, for the City at her office in Tom Davies Square. Matheson refused to meet with the entire delegation and with the media present. Two representatives from the group were delegated to meet with Matheson, and Gail Spencer, Coordinator of Shelters and Homelessness, and to report back to the group as a whole.

At this meeting with Matheson and Spencer the two S-CAP members were told that while there has been “good progress” on work on the site that they could not set any definite date for when it will open beyond “early December.” We were told that the physical site should be finished by Friday and the two members of S-CAP asked why it could not be open by Monday Dec. 1st? Their response was that there were problems with hiring, locating, and scheduling provider staff from the Salvation Army which was causing further delays. The two members of S-CAP pointed out that previously City staff claimed that it was going to speed things up to have staff from the Salvation Army since they were already trained to do this kind of work. Now this very arrangement is being used to justify further delays. The S-CAP members reiterated the concerns homeless people who have told us that because of problems they have had with Salvation Army staff they may not use this shelter if it has Salvation Army staff.

The two S-CAP members suggested again that to avoid this problem City workers should be hired to do this work. We also raised again that the shelter needs to open for more extended hours since it is very cold during the day in the winter. The meeting closed with Matheson and Spencer assuring us that we would be the first to be informed of the opening date and with the S-CAP members saying there is no excuse for the shelter not being open already and calling for the opening of Tom Davies Square as an Out of the Cold shelter where people can actually sleep until the Larch Street site is open.        

For more information contact: Gary Kinsman at 705-523-2205 or S-CAP at 249-878-7227


Open Letter to incoming Mayor Brian Bigger on the Urgent Need to Open the Out of the Cold Shelter


Dear Mayor Elect Bigger:

On December 2nd, you will become the Mayor of Greater Sudbury. We are already into winter with at least one cold weather emergency alert already. Despite the promises given at the last meeting of the outgoing City Council, on November 4th, that the Out of Cold shelter would be set up in about two weeks time, it has still not been set up. City staff are now saying it will not be opened “until early December” “given change of use and life safety requirements.” The City has once again left many homeless people out in the cold and immediate action is required to open this shelter. If when you take office the 200 Larch Street location has not been opened as the Out of the Cold Shelter we are asking that you immediately open Tom Davies Square as a temporary Out of the Cold shelter until the Larch Street site is opened.

You have a fairly substantial 'to do list' in front of you as you take on your new responsibilities but responding to the lack of an Out of the Cold shelter should be the most urgent priority of all. We say this not simply because people’s health and lives are at stake. We also make this point because a City that is to be trusted to meet any social needs with any degree of diligence cannot abandon human beings to destitution in the winter.  

Many homeless people are barred from the Salvation Army shelter because of perceived drug and alcohol use, or for other reasons, or they do not have the money to afford to stay there. Given past negative experiences there are some homeless people who refuse to go the men’s Salvation Army shelter. On those nights when a cold weather emergency is declared, and now until the Larch Street site opens, the Mission is open at night as a warming station but people cannot sleep there. And those who have been barred from the Mission cannot stay there. The Out of the Cold shelter recognizes that homeless people have a right to be able to sleep in a warm and safe place. In the longer run shelters are not the solution and we urgently need more affordable, accessible and safe housing and a raising of social assistance rates so people can rent the housing that is available.

We ask for your urgent action in opening up the Out of the Cold shelter to begin to meet some of the most basic needs of homeless people living in our city. 


Initial Signers:

Organizations: The Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty; Mine Mill Local 598/Unifor; The Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy, Laurentian University.

Individuals: Carol Kauppi, Professor, School of Work, Laurentian University; George J. Stephen; Henri R. Pallard, Professor, Law and Justice, Laurentian University; Cait Mitchel; Cate Burns; Charles Tossell, ODSP recipient; Phyllis Montgomery, Professor, School of Nursing, Laurentian University; Jennifer Foster; Crystal Kimewan; Alaya Kimewon; Starr Fairies; Shelly Treeelly; Trishawna Ellis; Taylor Phlip; Agnes Okonmal; Rahat Naeem; Areej Al Hamad; Catte Casonel; Justin Okonmah; Reuben Roth, Professor of Labour Studies, Laurentian University; Benita Hart; Scott Cunningham; Anna Harbulik; Philip Marsh; Eileen Roth; Pierrette Desarmeaux; Alicia Irwin; Aris Harbulik; Patrick Barnholden.    


If you, or your organization, want to sign this Open Letter please contact S-CAP before the end of Wednesday, Nov. 26th. S-CAP can be contacted at: Phone: 249-878-7227; or by Email :

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The Sudbury working-group of The Media Co-op was formed to create independent media in the North, to speak to our issues and outlooks on our communities as well as the world around us. Independent media provides an avenue for people who are wishing to gain critical perspective on the issues that matter most to us, and to give a voice to those people and stories that you won't find in the mainstream media.

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