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Temporary shelter in Barrie opens to address overcrowding at city shelters


Hundreds of people in the City of Barrie struggle to find a warm place to stay during the harsh winter nights.

Margaret-Ann Tolmie, a resident of Barrie, knows firsthand the difficulties of living without a roof over her head.

"It's not pretty. I see a lot of people out there struggling," she said.

Tolmie and her partner have recently found a place to stay, but others in the community are not so fortunate.

"A lot of people are living either under bridges in tents," Tolmie said.

The Busby Centre's main downtown building has 50 beds, and now an additional 50 beds are available at a temporary shelter that recently opened mobile units funded by the County of Simcoe.

Busby Centre executive director Sara Peddle says the beds at the temporary Rose Street facility are for when city shelters are at capacity.

"We have 17 people using this facility currently and can support up to 50. We anticipate the demand for spaces to increase over the coming weeks as the weather gets colder. Our outreach team is connecting with people who are living in alternative housing/outside daily to advise them there is space at the shelters," she said.

Ayrion Walker, another Barrie resident, has struggled to find a permanent place to live for the past six and a half years.

"It's been nearly impossible to properly find a place to call home," he said. Walker attributes his difficulties finding housing to addiction and mental health issues, as well as the high cost of rent in the city.

Ken Case, a 43-year-old welder, has also found it challenging to find stable housing.

"I work full-time. Up until two days ago, I was sleeping on the street, under a picnic table, getting up every morning, going to work," he said.

"We all want a better life, we all want to succeed, we just need that hand up," said Ayrion.

Peddle said anyone seeking shelter would need to visit 88 Mulcaster Street or connect with the Detour Outreach Team for intake. Top Stories

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