It’s been two months since a fire at our Shelter program took place in the Tower at the Inn of Waterloo.
We’re grateful for the incredible show of support from Waterloo Region during this challenging time and want to take the time to provide a community update.
Right after the Shelter fire, the program experienced a COVID-19 outbreak. Through the ShelterCare model (www.sheltercare.ca), staff, Public Health, and the Inner City Health Alliance worked together to provide Shelter participants with the care and support they needed to become well, ending the outbreak.
Since then, two vaccination clinics have been held at the Shelter program, with an incredible 77% of participants receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, creating a new layer of protection for this at-risk group.
A major task that has been a top priority and focus is to reunite Shelter participants with belongings left behind at the Tower at the Inn of Waterloo.
House of Friendship is working with a local restoration company to professionally clean these items from the after-effects of smoke damage, including soot, debris, odour, and ash. Special technicians are completing this work and ensuring that these items are free from the smell of smoke and carcinogens. This week, 15 participants had items returned to them, with more anticipated soon.
An additional bright spot has been through our partnership with Lutherwood, allowing us to find homes for more than 30 men since the fire. We continue to accept new men into our program in Guelph for those who need emergency shelter.
While we are making significant headway in housing our participants, our shelter needs a home too! We are working with our City of Kitchener, City of Waterloo, and Regional partners to find a temporary and permanent location for our Emergency Shelter Program. While we don’t have any site just yet, we are confident that we will have a place where we can continue to innovate the ShelterCare model and change the lives of those we serve.
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