THUNDER BAY – Shelter House Thunder Bay will be suspending the SOS (Street Outreach Service) Program effective April 1, 2017 due to a funding shortfall of just under $200,000. The SOS program is a mobile service operating daily from 2:00 pm to 2:00 am providing assistance to homeless individuals in crisis.
The SOS program was launched in December 2014 as a four month pilot project to provide outreach, support, and transportation to people who are unhoused, publicly intoxicated or living in encampments. The need for this service was so great that the decision was made to keep the program going year round. In 2016 the SOS Program provided 4,923 transports and gave out 21,696 amenities such as blankets, coats, food, and water to homeless people in need.
Executive Director Gary Mack says, “We hope to minimize the impact on clients by timing the temporary suspension of SOS with the return of warmer weather. The program will be reinstated in the late fall when the colder weather returns.”
“This is a difficult decision. Unfortunately we had no choice but to reduce services at this time. Shelter House will continue to offer core services, providing for the basic needs, dignity and comfort of people living in poverty here in the City of Thunder Bay,” concludes Mack.
- Shelter House of Thunder Bay provided shelter to 928 individuals for a total of 20,352 bed stays in 2016.
- External referrals to SOS are mainly from the Emergency Department at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (32%), the business community (25%), and Thunder Bay Police Services (17%).