FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 25, 2022
A YEAR LONG GOAL REALIZED THIS WEEK FOR LOCAL EMERGENCY SHELTER
ST. THOMAS, ON-After a full year of anticipation, planning and preparation, the Board of Directors of Inn Out of the Cold St. Thomas-Elgin, now operating as The INN, is excited to announce the opening of 10 Princess Avenue. The Board and Leadership Team together with Executive Director Lori Fitzgerald are thrilled to lead the organization into the new facility that will be open 24 hours a day starting Wednesday January 26.
The INN has operated for nearly 12 years at Central United Church on Wellington Street. Most of that time they were open just during the winter months but in 2020, with the onset of COVID, they also opened a day site at 423 Talbot Street, in partnership with the City of St. Thomas and with the support of the provincial Social Service Relief Fund. Additionally, they were able to keep their overnight shelter open year-round during COVID with the support of Central United. It soon became obvious by the amount of people they were serving at both locations that a full time, 24/7 shelter was a dire need for those experiencing homelessness in St. Thomas. In January 2021, a building was purchased with a provincial grant and plans began to form to retrofit the space to meet the operational needs of an emergency shelter. The Board acknowledges City Council and City staff for their significant assistance in supporting the plans to see this new shelter become a reality in the community.
“We are looking forward with great anticipation to serving our guests at this new location that will allow those using our services to seek shelter, safety and support in one spot instead of having to bundle up each morning and face the elements, moving around the City to the next site to get help” says Fitzgerald. “When people have the opportunity to get better sleep, stay warm, receive consistent care and more comprehensive support they can begin the healing process and focus on next steps.”
The INN is planning on creating a hub of services to meet the needs of the guests. Mental health and addictions support, health care, harm reduction services, practical help like identification replacement and assistance with housing and Ontario Works applications are some of the benefits that will come to those seeking help at The INN.
While this is great news for St. Thomas-Elgin, The INN continues to need community support. Volunteers are required to assist with the expanded meal program and donations of specific items of need, including financial support for ongoing operations are appreciated.
For further information contact:
Lori Fitzgerald, Executive Director