Tbnewswatch Local News
Monday June 29 2015
7:11 PM EDT
2014-04-29 at NOON

SOS program ends

Shelter House executive director Patty Hajdu
Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
Shelter House executive director Patty Hajdu
By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com

The funding is gone but the need continues as a pilot project that helped more than 1,000 people survive this winter comes to an end.

Shelter House launched the four-month SOS cold weather program in December as a way to help the city's most vulnerable survive what turned out to be an unforgiving winter season.

For 12 hours every day the two-person mobile service responded to non-violent calls and tried to transfer those people to places like Shelter House, Salvation Army or detox if needed.

Shelter House executive director Patty Hajdu said once businesses, people and emergency services knew the program was available, it became clear that is was about more than just cold weather.

"We were blown away by the need out there," she said.

As a pilot program, it was only funded until April 27. While Shelter House can contribute, it can't afford the $200,000 a year needed to make it permanent even though the need is there and growing all the time. Hajdu's hoping that the city and other emergency services can help pick up the bill.

"How can we do this collaboratively as a community," she said.

Businesses and the hospital were the most frequent callers to the program. Hadju said out of the 1,000 people helped, less than 50 calls needed the help of service other than the program.

"They really were able to navigate a lot of those situations independently," she said.

A report will be brought to city council at the end of May and given to other organizations to see if collaborative funding is possible.

In the meantime, Hajdu said she unfortunately expects to see a spike in demand for emergency services now that the program is no longer available.

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The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
I imagine the cops could just drive them all to the edge of town, and then point them towards Nipigon...or...we could declare Tunder Bay "DRY" (only for a month or two, so relax), and then all the hard-core imbibers would leave, right?
5/1/2014 8:33:28 AM
drdolittle says:
Instead of belittling every single thing this community does for regular average citizens possibly the trolls on this site should be looking at the giant cost overruns for municipal infrastructure projects that end up handed out to a select few lucky construction and consulting companies. More projects for the regular folks are what this city needs.
4/30/2014 11:40:20 AM
ring of fire dude says:
These are not "regular average citizens" , regular average citizens pay taxes , have a job and stay away from trouble (in it's many forms).
4/30/2014 2:55:28 PM
Wolfie says:
It sounds like this is a program that is helping to free up the time of police and paramedics, and likely doing the work at a lower cost. Maybe the funding could be taken from one of those budgets?
4/30/2014 9:02:46 AM
Ozone says:
Just go to council. Tell them anything and they will just give you money from the magical endless pot they fleece from the local tax payers. Any ole cause is funded! Even businesses that can get any more capital from the banks!

Heck 200k is what this council spends on legal fees monthly defending against lawsuits for their poor decisions!
4/30/2014 8:04:08 AM
Molly says:
Please clarify was this 1000 people or 10 people getting 100 rides?
I think if someone checked it would be a handful of people using the system over and over
4/29/2014 10:07:48 PM
gremlin says:

You'll have to take my word for it but I have a pretty good idea of what it's like near the bottom. I'm old enough to have experienced a fair amount in life. I've made mistakes but learned that only I can correct them. I didn't rely on government programs to "fix me". Its about reaching inside of yourself. Unfortunately all the bleeding hearts won't let these people do that.

I help those that truly "can't" help themselves.
4/29/2014 9:56:15 PM
joey joe joe jr. shabadoo says:
"A report will be brought to city council at the end of May and given to other organizations to see if collaborative funding is possible"

?what about the new artwork scheduled for the marina in summer 2014?
that's more important to many isn't it?
4/29/2014 8:55:22 PM
keep it real says:
"we were blown away by the need out there" & "the need is there & growing all the time"
The need can't help but grow, you are giving the junkies free needles and crack pipes and you don't expect there to be more junkies and losers...... Give your head a shake!!!
Harm Reduction doesnt work in the real world! How much more money has to be wasted on a program that makes it easier for people to ruin their lives because the soft hearts don't want to admit they are wrong !!!
4/29/2014 6:43:58 PM
Wolfie says:
Right. Because there are a lot of people out there who said to themselves "I've always wanted to do crack, but the pipes were just too darn expensive. Now that they're free, I'll give it a try!"
4/30/2014 9:01:08 AM
fastball says:
This is a service we had availed ourselves at work whenever we had individuals incapacitated for one reason or another. SOS picked up these individuals, without judgement and with a bit of sensitivity, and took them wherever they needed to go - rehab, soup kitchen or a place to bed down for the night - instead of us having to waste valuable police or EMS resources to provide the same service.
They did a good service - and I, for one, am sad to see them go.
4/29/2014 5:36:59 PM
Pandora says:
Is this a taxi service?

I think the public purse is going to get hit again.
$200,000. is a lot of money.

4/29/2014 4:34:16 PM
progress now says:
Sounds like a program that could be funded through United Way, Christmas Cheer fund, and direct contributions.

4/29/2014 4:13:01 PM
cm punk says:
Not to sound heartless, but Patty should be more aggressive with getting federal and provincial funding and not ask our city council.
Or else what did we learn about the city's financial crisis
4/29/2014 3:43:47 PM
gremlin says:
Patty says "we were blown away by the need out there" & "the need is there & growing all the time". What a surprise, what else would she say.

Just like the story about "dangerous highways". The fact is "people make bad choices in life" & cause their own problems.

Thinking you can "fix" it for them with more government help (social assistance) is what's "killing them".

Just another "bleeding heart" for the "down-trodden".
4/29/2014 2:30:43 PM
humnchuck says:
Random "quotation" marks "are" fun...
4/29/2014 6:45:32 PM
SomeGuy says:
gremlin "I" hope you are never down on "your" luck and need "help" from someone, cause I hope they say sorry but I only "look out" for myself.
4/29/2014 8:47:31 PM
pc says:
Why is it that no matter who is asking for money they are always helping "the most vulnerable"
Single mothers need help. "most vulnerable"
Alcoholics need help. "most vulnerable"
Youth need activities. "most vulnerable"
I am beginning to think tax payers are "the most vulnerable"
I do not mind helping on a one time basis but where are these "most vulnerable" people helping themselves to become not so "vulnerable"
Give a hand up and if it is not taken then stop with the hand outs.
4/29/2014 1:24:12 PM
homelessteen says:
@ over 200 per ride why not just rent them a limo it would be cheaper. How about we stop enabling people.
4/29/2014 1:09:51 PM
A J says:
Read the article again. 200,000 is the cost for a year of the program, not 4 months as you mistakenly assumed (c'mon you math whizzes). This means the program served (assuming final numbers and that the article is correct)at an approximate cost of $65-$75 a client. The savings of freeing up police, ems, fire services as well reduced medical costs are many multiples of this relatively cheap solution. This also means that those services free up to attend higher priority calls quicker. It is a win win all around.
4/30/2014 12:24:33 AM
averagejoe says:
I think everyone should read it again, this is surprising.

4 months, 1000 people transported, cost of $200,000.
So thats over $1,600 a day, or $200 per person. Average 8 people transported a day, and it's only available 12 hours a day. People think this is money well spent?

Tell you what, I'll buy an old van and do it next winter for $150,000 - easy money.
4/30/2014 1:01:02 PM
fastball says:
Or how much do you think the calling the police to haul away a drunk/sleeping person costs? Should the police be doing something else, maybe?
What are our options? Take the police away from their duties to take away a passed out person - or call these guys?
Where's your dollar better spent?
4/30/2014 4:36:24 PM
enos012 says:
Now if you want to rasie my taxes for something like this go right ahead....
4/29/2014 1:07:23 PM
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