THUNDER BAY — A designated City of Thunder Bay transit bus will continue to serve as a "care bus" for the vulnerable population until April 16.
It was initially scheduled to end on March 31.
Following a call for action by the grassroots organization Not One More Death, the service was implemented on March 4 through the cooperation of the city, NorWest Community Health Centres, and other community partners.
To date the bus has provided support to more than 1,400 people, including food and water, hygiene supplies, personal protective equipment, warm clothing, and harm reduction supplies.
Many users have also been transported to the city's warming shelter, to the COVID-19 isolation shelter, or to medical and social support service locations.
NorWest Community Health Centres CEO Juanita Lawson said the number of clients accessing the service demonstrates "the significant unmet needs that vulnerable individuals in our community are experiencing."
Lawson added that "it highlights the need to focus on a more comprehensive community-based response" to the issues Thunder Bay is facing including poverty and homelessness.
The care bus is staffed with harm reduction outreach workers and social services navigators.
It takes a predetermined route and operates from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.