A faith-based community group announced Friday the opening of a daily overnight warming center in downtown Simcoe.
“It’s a matter of life or death for some people,” said Virginia Lucas, director of Church Out Serving.
The centre, which ran for about six weeks last year, will be hosted again at First Baptist Church at Young and Talbot streets, and open nightly until the end of April.
“We don’t have another shelter,” Lucas said. “And the need is great and it’s growing.”
The temporary shelter’s 20 beds, which are quality cots with a medical grade mattress, will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis from 8-11 pm, along with a “hearty meal”, clean sleeping bags and pillows, and some continental breakfast items in the morning.
Everyone must be out of the shelter by 7:30.
Lucas said there will be a security person, a paid staff member and a volunteer at the shelter each night.
She said it was the “collective will” of the community to do something to help the homeless in the area and, since there is no facility run by the municipality, the county is assisting with some financial support.
Church Out Serving is a partnership of volunteers from various faith groups and others who are concerned. It provides about 400 meals each week to the hungry, including a frozen meal program that delivers to the elderly, those with health issues and the homeless.
Lucas said she expects it will take up to a week for word to get around about the shelter.
“With the help of many community supporters, we are delighted to offer a safe, warm place to sleep for anyone who is homeless during these cold winter months,” the group said in a news release.
For more information about the warming center or other projects, visit the group’s website at www.churchoutserving.org.