Barrie shelters prepare for frigid weather
As the City of Barrie prepares for extreme cold to move through the area later this week, local shelters are working on expanding space for those in need.
"People are needing to get inside. It's really, really cold outside and people who are unfortunately without housing need somewhere safe to be," said Sara Peddle, Busby Centre executive director.
According to Peddle, the temporary shelter at 20 Rose Street accommodates roughly 50 individuals each night. However, due to the frigid temperatures, hours will be extended for daytime service.
"People are getting frostbite, they're getting trench foot, and they are getting all these health effects coming from the effects of the cold. We want to make sure that's not happening," Peddle said.
With visitors assigned a designated room and access to a warm meal, the shelter is one of a few spaces aiming to protect the city's most vulnerable.
According to the Busby Centre, just over 200 people live without housing within Barrie. As the extreme cold moves in over the following few days, organizations say staying warm will mean life or death.
"People will die. It's very cold out. I don't like going out when it's just zero degrees, so to sleep outside ... that's ridiculous. It's not safe," said Hayley Murdoch-Fyke, John Howard Society of Simcoe Muskoka executive director.
At the John Howard Society, a warming space is also hoping to fill that need, the organization reporting that it is seeing dozens of people using the service daily.
"It's a place where they can sit, breath and eat and figure out what their next step is," Hayley Murdoch-Fyke said.
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