Although having just opened on April 1, the Emergency Homeless Shelter has already outgrown the facilities of the YMCA.
As of Thursday, officials with the District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board (DSSAB) say the shelter will move to the Pete Palangio Arena.
“We’re grateful to the YMCA and the neighbouring community for their immediate support of this vital shelter,” says Nipissing DSSAB chair Mark King. “As the situation evolves, more space is needed and the new site will better accommodate the potential and evolving need.”
Officials add that the YMCA had the ability to offer isolation for a small group of individuals suspected of having COVID-19, but did not have space to properly isolate those who tested positive for the virus. Additionally, the YMCA only had space for 35 cots, plus five staff members, including security personnel. With the two rinks at Pete Palangio, officials say the arena can hold up to 50 cots on the shelter side, and 10 on the isolation side.
The collaboration between the Nipissing DSSAB, the Nipissing Mental Health Housing and Support Services (NMHHSS), the City of North Bay, and the Nipissing District Housing Corporation (NDHC) will continue during this transition as well.
“We are working hard to keep staff, clients and our community safe through this pandemic,” Mary Davis, Executive Director of NMHHSS stated. “Social distancing can be challenging for everyone, but it is even more difficult for those who experience homelessness, addictions or mental health challenges. We couldn’t be more appreciative of the YMCA’s leadership and for recognizing the importance of coming together as a community throughout these difficult times.”
“The seriousness of the pandemic and the safety of the entire community continue to require quick and flexible responses. We feel the double rink arena provides the best option given the need for expediency,” adds NDHC Chair, Dave Mendicino.