Groups integrate to fight homelessness

Organizations Plan for a Future that Ends Homelessness

A pair of Barrie social services focused on “ending chronic homelessness” in the city are planning to integrate their operations more fully, including moving under one roof.
The Barrie Out of the Cold programs and the David Busby Street Centre “are moving beyond their current partnerships and resource sharing and exploring meaningful ways to link the two organizations in the future,” according to a press release from Barrie Pathways to End Homelessness.
A co-ordinated planning approach makes sense for both organizations, says Gary Lyon, chairperson of Barrie Out of the Cold program.
“We see many of the same clients, have cross over with our volunteers and we will be sharing space in the new Pathways facility.”
That facility is located at 88-89 Mulcaster Street. The two services will operate under the same roof, but their core service times will not overlap, with Busby operating during the day and Out of the Cold at night. Both boards met Nov. 7 for a strategic session.
“There are many synergies between our organizations (and) we are looking for ways to capitalize on these for the good of the community,” says Lyon.
Last fall the Canadian Mental Health Association purchased the property on Mulcaster as a social services hub under the umbrella of Barrie Pathways. The Busby centre currently operates out of the space and it is also home to a housing worker from Barrie Housing, as well as host to visiting services ranging from mental health to primary care.
When fully integrated, it will house the Canadian Mental Health Association, the street centre, Barrie Housing (Simcoe Community Services), and the Out of the Cold program. The vision is to provide a central hub for people in the community who are experiencing homelessness, to serve as a starting point for accessing services.
Plans for the new facility are at an early stage of discussion, according to the release. The agencies housed there will continue to work with Pathways’ collaborating partner organizations throughout the city to meet client needs.
“Our organizations have been valued partners for a number of years, and through Pathways we are solidifying and enhancing our partnerships,” says Sara Peddle, executive director of the Busby Centre.
The organizations advise they will continue to meet with one another to discuss future opportunities, and have struck a steering committee with representatives from each organization.