Temporary Overflow Shelter Beds Added At Peterborough Public Library As Homeless Crisis Grows

With the Tent City at Victoria Park (see pictures) growing in numbers—and this area in the midst of a heat wave and possibility of severe thunderstorms—the community is acting.

Youth Emergency Shelter, Brock Mission, Fourcast, United Way of Peterborough and District, and the City of Peterborough are partnering to temporarily open 15 overflow beds at Peterborough Public Library, plus another 15 overflow beds at the Youth Emergency Shelter.

Photo of Tent City by Neil Morton, PTBOCanada

Photo of Tent City by Neil Morton, PTBOCanada

COORDINATED APPROACH TO OVERFLOW BEDS

Peterborough Social Services is coordinating intake at the Peterborough Public Library when the overflow bed space opens at 9 p.m. each night. People will be directed to available space at a shelter—Brock Mission, Cameron House, or Youth Emergency Shelter—or to one of the overflow shelter beds at the Library or Youth Emergency Shelter.

People who use the overflow beds will be asked to be out of the space by 8 a.m. each morning.

The coordinated approach to providing overflow beds will also connect people with support services and housing programs. Housing first is the goal rather than having people live in shelters.

In the meantime, the City is working with community partners to secure a longer-term location for the provision of overflow beds.

Photo of Tent City by Neil Morton, PTBOCanada

Photo of Tent City by Neil Morton, PTBOCanada

Youth Emergency Shelter has been able to make the space for 15 overflow beds available for individuals of all ages, even though it normally only provides beds for youth and families. The shelter and housing providers have been able to move families into housing and other accommodations, which has opened up space for overflow beds as a temporary service.

Homeless people who are camping at the Tent City and elsewhere should go to the Library at 9 p.m. to speak with staff who will connect them with a shelter or overflow bed. The City is asking people not to camp in public spaces that are not meant for that type of use.

Photo of Tent City by Neil Morton, PTBOCanada

Photo of Tent City by Neil Morton, PTBOCanada

The overflow bed service was temporarily shut down on Canada Day when the service provider Warming Room’s lease expired for the former location on Murray Street. On the last night that the service was at the Warming Room, there were 29 people using overflow beds.

Warming Executive Director Christian Harvey told CBC Ontario Morning on Thursday (July 18th) that the Warming Room is still trying to secure a new location after getting a few leads for possible spots.

The City of Peterborough says that shelter bed availability can change each day. Last week, there were as many as about 25 beds available in the shelter system. On July 17th, there were six beds available at Cameron House for women, three beds available at Youth Emergency Shelter for youth, and no beds available at the Brock Mission for men.

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