In from the Cold, Kingston’s largest homeless shelter is bursting at the seams. Described as Kingston’s largest emergency shelter, the 24 bed centre helps bridge the gap between housing and homelessness. The shelter is open 20 hours per day, 365 days a year.

On average, 18 people sleep at the shelter every night. The Barrie Street facility is a non-profit organization that relies on funding from government, local organizations including the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul and the generosity of the public.

What Housing Costs
The average cost of a 2 bedroom rental unit in Kingston rose from $709 per month in 2001 to $785 per month in 2004. ($727 in 2003)

The maximum monthly shelter allowance for a single person on Ontario Works is $325 while the average cost of a one bedroom apartment in Kingston was $646 per month in 2004. ($627 in 2003)

Statistics provided by Canadian Mortgage and Housing corporation.

Kingston has one of the lowest vacancy rates in the country making affordable housing hard to find. Sister of Providence Alda Brady is the assistant co-ordinator. She brings comfort to Kingston’s most destitute. She sees her role as an advocate for the homeless.

“This shelter is not about the bed. It’s about holistic health of an individual,” says Sister Alda who credits the Housing Help Centre staff for the program’s success. “I can’t do it alone, the staff are professional and full of compassion, like an extension of the Sisters of Providence. “

The shelter also serves as a drop-in, where clients do laundry, check email or chat with Sister Alda. Here, the formal relationship between coordinator and client quickly transforms into friendships based on trust. Sister Alda is a good listener but more often, motivates individuals to find long term success by arranging meetings between clients and various community agencies including Option for Change, Better Beginnings, and mental health services. A few years ago, the shelter identified the need for on site medical staff. Beginning this year, a nurse practioner will visit In From the Cold one day a week to deal with various health concerns of residents.

“The drop-in provides a safe environment, so they don’t mind talking to various other supportive agencies,” says Sister Alda.

To view the “Wish List” for “In From The Cold” donations please view the following file: Wish List