The new temporary “pop-up” homeless shelter is in dire need of volunteers.
Plans have been in motion for the past few months to open the “Out of the Cold Homeless Shelter,” located in the Apostolic Way Church on Victoria Avenue here, but it simply can’t happen without helping hands.
“At this point we don’t have any in place,” Jamie Petrin, Community Homeless Liaison for the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board (RRDSSAB), told the Times.
“A bare minimum of 10-12 volunteers are needed to run the shelter,” she explained.
“Initially, there was a great deal of interest from the community and we received a large number of applications,” noted Petrin.
“[But] as part of the application process, volunteers must go to the OPP detachment and have vulnerable sector checks completed and returned to NCDS,” she added.
“We have only received two vulnerable sector checks back at this time.”
Petrin stressed volunteers are “the key factor” to opening the doors.
“There is some preparation to do but the largest concern in making the shelter open is the need for volunteers,” she said.
Once the shelter can be opened, the intent is to operate it Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights until the spring.
It will be open to individuals aged 16 and over who require a warm bed.
The program only will be open through the night and those accessing the shelter will be asked to leave in the morning.
Those interested in volunteering are asked to fill out an application, which can be found on the shelter’s Facebook page, “Out of the Cold Fort Frances,” or at NCDS, RRDSSAB, or Rainy River District Victim Services.
The application asks for your name and contact information, as well as your availability, how often you would like to volunteer, and any related skills.
Applicants must pass a criminal reference/vulnerable sector check, be willing to sign an Oath of Confidentiality, and complete the necessary training that will be provided prior to starting.
Once you fill out the application, drop it off at one of the following locations:
•NCDS (304 Scott St.);
•Rainy River District Victim Services (334 Scott St.); or
•Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board (450 Scott St.)
The “pop-up” homeless shelter is the result of several months of partnership meetings between the RRDSSAB, NCDS, and the RRDVSP, as well as the United Native Friendship Centre and other community organizations.