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2014-07-03 at 15:25

Unprecedented need

Volunteers help out in the kitchen at Shelter House Thursday morning.
Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com
Volunteers help out in the kitchen at Shelter House Thursday morning.
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By Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY -- Shelter House is appealing directly to donors for the first time as the need for emergency shelter rises in the city.

The George Street shelter mailed out about 2,000 letters last week to people who have contributed in the past.

“We know our donors are incredibly generous to Shelter House whether it’s through food or through actual direct financial donations,” said executive director Patty Hajdu, adding they thought they’d let donors know exactly where their money has gone and a little about some of the people they’ve helped.

Fundraising accounts for about 40 per cent of the shelter’s $1.8 million budget. Hajdu said they need to raise between $300,000 and $500,000 annually depending on what services they provide.

The shelter approached council on June 23 asking the city to nearly double its annual contribution to $500,000. That was part of their business plan, which also includes a renewed commitment to fundraising.

“It’s a commitment we plan to live up to,” said Hajdu, adding those plans include some new events and the direct appeals. 

The increased costs are primarily from a need to help staff the shelter because of a growing number of clients, even in the warm summer months.

“We’re at 62 people all summer long. This is something that was unheard of two years ago,” said Hajdu, noting they have had to turn people away this summer.

The jump in clients is because of a combination of factors, with the biggest being the housing crunch, Hajdu said.

“With the vacancy rate hovering around the one per cent mark with affordable housing sort of being torn down in the community, we really have no place to refer people to and so people are staying longer and longer with Shelter House,” she said.

The shelter is also looking at training their staff in vulnerability assessment for the winter months to determine which clients are the most in need of emergency shelter.

“This is a horrible reality,” said Hajdu.

 


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Comments

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musicferret says:
Lesson for city council #1:
THIS is a need.


Lesson for city council #2:
An events centre is not a need.

Please learn these lessons before you blow $100,000,000.00+ of taxpayers money.



7/3/2014 5:18:53 PM
ring of fire dude says:
Once the Ring of Fire road goes through the shelter will face a tidal wave of clients from the northern communities looking to a new life in ThunderBay . The proposed Event Center and meeting space will be the only venue in town that will be able to accommodate the influx of clients unless the Waterfront BIA pushes for a refit of the Fort William Gardens as the new mega-shelter .
7/3/2014 7:41:26 PM
Enquirer says:
All debate about the events centre, and needs vs wants aside, I find the irony a bit too strong to not point out.

While I would certainly agree with the sentiment that services such as these are deserving of funding as much as anything else, I ask those who pose these types of responses:

If the events centre was not even on the table nor even an idea at this point, and city council decided to spend even half ($50 million let us suppose) on the Shelter House and other poverty reduction strategies, would the complaints seemingly disappear? I think we all know the answer to that question.

I do understand that most posters (and repeat offenders) here would rather have absolutely 0 taxation or, at the most, taxation for roads maintenance, but the argument put forth that $100 million would be better spent elsewhere does not hold weight as no project is worth any expenditure in the eyes of the usual crowd here. In fact, I have seen many posters here post against such initiatives as these!
7/3/2014 11:35:22 PM
bttnk says:
@ musicferret - Not everyone agrees that this is a need.
7/4/2014 10:45:29 AM
Rocky Racoon says:
This is a provincial responsibility. As long as funds are raised through private donors, that's one thing (and something I can support) but the municipality should not be funding the Shelter House or any other such charity.

There is far too much non jurisdictional spending at all levels of government. All it gets us is bloated and expensive bureaucracies and governments which, instead of doing a few things and doing them well, they do a lot of things and most of them very poorly.

All levels of government should strictly confine themselves to just those areas which are within their jurisdiction. I believe that's the best way to tackle all issues, including this one. It would be the easiest way to cut the administrative pork and be left with more overall money for programs.
7/3/2014 5:51:24 PM
Harold says:
Well I would rather have #2 musicferret
7/3/2014 6:42:45 PM
tsb says:
Low cost housing has not been built in this city in over 20 years.
7/3/2014 10:49:17 PM
Nivlacw says:
@musicferret, What does the event centre have to do with the shelter house needing donations? Absolutely nothing.
7/3/2014 11:56:59 PM
realist72 says:
To be fair, it is not low cost housing, it is low rent housing, intended for low income families.

The housing costs to build and maintain are still substantial. Add to that the lack of ownership from some tenants and the damage costs exceed what should only be a maintenance budget.

There are no easy answers, and building "projects' co-contributes to poor social upbringing, including but not limited to youth drug addiction, petty crime, prostitution, etc.

Handouts are not and are never going to be the answer. Here's an idea, and an idea only, not a belief.
Why wouldn't we build low rental community farming pods where people would have to work the farms, not only to contribute to their own food needs, but large enough to subsidize the cost of building and maintaining said facilities.
7/4/2014 10:24:30 AM
susannas says:
I wish they would set up a way for everyone that reads this article to donate through an online system like paypal. People these days donate online all the time. You might get 5.00 or you might get 100 dollars. The point is to make it really easy for people to donate. If thousands of people donated 10.00 dollars....
7/4/2014 9:21:52 PM
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