Out of the Cold pilot with a twist launching in Toronto's Beach area

Community Jan 03, 2018 by Joanna Lavoie Beach Mirror

An Out of the Cold (OOTC) program will be offered in a new, innovative way this winter in the Beach.

Starting Jan. 8, about a dozen frequent guests of the city-wide, volunteer-run initiative will be spending Monday nights at Beach United Church. 

The four-month-long initiative will provide people with a nutritious meal, a warm place to sleep, and most importantly the opportunity to learn invaluable life skills they need when they move in to their own homes in the near future.

Typically, Out of the Cold guests drop into the program, but in this case those taking part in the pilot at Beach United have been invited based on their readiness for housing, 

“This is an opportunity for us to do the Out of the Cold program a little bit differently, to do dedicated work with individuals,” said David Reycraft, the director of housing services at Dixon Hall, which supports Toronto’s 16 Out of the Cold programs which are housed in churches and synagogues.

“This is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time.”

Reycraft said those chosen to take part in the pilot have frequented an Out of the Cold program for 25 per cent or more of the time it is open during the fall and winter months, and have demonstrated a strong desire to be housed.

To help pay for the pilot, Dixon Hall is using money it has obtained from the federal government’s Innovative Solutions to Homelessness funding stream. Some additional fundraising will also be done.

Beach United’s Rev. Karen Dale said the OOTC pilot lends well to her congregation’s focus on social justice, notably its efforts to help people who are under housed or homeless.

“We are always looking for projects that amplify that part of our ministry and Out of the Cold is a perfect fit,” she said during a recent interview.

“I think this has some real possibilities. It looks to the future of the Out of the Cold program.”   

Dale also said this is the first time Beach United has hosted an OOTC program and parishioners are excited about it and eager to get involved.

“We have a wonderful room and kitchen space. It’s meant to be here. We’re a community space as well as a sacred space,” she said.  

The pilot program at Beach United is essentially an extension of the one at the nearby Church of St. Aidan at Queen Street East and Silver Birch Avenue. That program, which was established in the fall of 2006, was set to temporarily relocate to Beach United this fall to make way for major renovations, but that has now been delayed to this fall.

In preparation, Beach United had made a multi-purpose room and commercial kitchen available on Monday evenings. The new pilot program will make use of those spaces until the end of April.

Matthew Kellway, who for the last two years has served as the chair of St. Aidan’s OOTC program, said his team of volunteers were eager to do more and are excited about this new opportunity at Beach United.  

“This is something tangible we can do. We’re on the verge of making something really work for people,” said Kellway, who started working to develop the pilot program last spring with Dixon Hall and Beach United. 

Kellway, the New Democratic MP for the Toronto riding of Beaches-East York from 2011 to 2015, said his desire is that if it is successful, Toronto might provide funding so that the city’s homeless can be moved out of church basements and temporary shelters and into their own homes sooner.

“Something has to change. We can’t be doing this every winter. We shouldn’t be depending on the volunteer sector to do the city’s job,” he said, adding the time is right for the Out of the Cold program to evolve from being an emergency stop-gap measure to one that gives people life skills and resources they need to move forward.

Reycraft, who hopes the pilot program will be replicated or implemented in some way in the future throughout the city, agreed.

He also said Toronto’s Out of the Cold program was never intended to be a permanent solution for helping the city’s homeless, but three decades later it has become a heavily relied upon service. That being said, he said there’s no better time to come up with new ways to deliver the program so that people can get a hand up, not just a hand out all year long.

Out of the Cold pilot with a twist launching in Toronto's Beach area

Invited guests to be given nutritious meals, place to sleep, and life-skills training

Community Jan 03, 2018 by Joanna Lavoie Beach Mirror

An Out of the Cold (OOTC) program will be offered in a new, innovative way this winter in the Beach.

Starting Jan. 8, about a dozen frequent guests of the city-wide, volunteer-run initiative will be spending Monday nights at Beach United Church. 

The four-month-long initiative will provide people with a nutritious meal, a warm place to sleep, and most importantly the opportunity to learn invaluable life skills they need when they move in to their own homes in the near future.

Typically, Out of the Cold guests drop into the program, but in this case those taking part in the pilot at Beach United have been invited based on their readiness for housing, 

“This is an opportunity for us to do the Out of the Cold program a little bit differently, to do dedicated work with individuals,” said David Reycraft, the director of housing services at Dixon Hall, which supports Toronto’s 16 Out of the Cold programs which are housed in churches and synagogues.

“This is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time.”

Reycraft said those chosen to take part in the pilot have frequented an Out of the Cold program for 25 per cent or more of the time it is open during the fall and winter months, and have demonstrated a strong desire to be housed.

To help pay for the pilot, Dixon Hall is using money it has obtained from the federal government’s Innovative Solutions to Homelessness funding stream. Some additional fundraising will also be done.

Beach United’s Rev. Karen Dale said the OOTC pilot lends well to her congregation’s focus on social justice, notably its efforts to help people who are under housed or homeless.

“We are always looking for projects that amplify that part of our ministry and Out of the Cold is a perfect fit,” she said during a recent interview.

“I think this has some real possibilities. It looks to the future of the Out of the Cold program.”   

Dale also said this is the first time Beach United has hosted an OOTC program and parishioners are excited about it and eager to get involved.

“We have a wonderful room and kitchen space. It’s meant to be here. We’re a community space as well as a sacred space,” she said.  

The pilot program at Beach United is essentially an extension of the one at the nearby Church of St. Aidan at Queen Street East and Silver Birch Avenue. That program, which was established in the fall of 2006, was set to temporarily relocate to Beach United this fall to make way for major renovations, but that has now been delayed to this fall.

In preparation, Beach United had made a multi-purpose room and commercial kitchen available on Monday evenings. The new pilot program will make use of those spaces until the end of April.

Matthew Kellway, who for the last two years has served as the chair of St. Aidan’s OOTC program, said his team of volunteers were eager to do more and are excited about this new opportunity at Beach United.  

“This is something tangible we can do. We’re on the verge of making something really work for people,” said Kellway, who started working to develop the pilot program last spring with Dixon Hall and Beach United. 

Kellway, the New Democratic MP for the Toronto riding of Beaches-East York from 2011 to 2015, said his desire is that if it is successful, Toronto might provide funding so that the city’s homeless can be moved out of church basements and temporary shelters and into their own homes sooner.

“Something has to change. We can’t be doing this every winter. We shouldn’t be depending on the volunteer sector to do the city’s job,” he said, adding the time is right for the Out of the Cold program to evolve from being an emergency stop-gap measure to one that gives people life skills and resources they need to move forward.

Reycraft, who hopes the pilot program will be replicated or implemented in some way in the future throughout the city, agreed.

He also said Toronto’s Out of the Cold program was never intended to be a permanent solution for helping the city’s homeless, but three decades later it has become a heavily relied upon service. That being said, he said there’s no better time to come up with new ways to deliver the program so that people can get a hand up, not just a hand out all year long.

Out of the Cold pilot with a twist launching in Toronto's Beach area

Invited guests to be given nutritious meals, place to sleep, and life-skills training

Community Jan 03, 2018 by Joanna Lavoie Beach Mirror

An Out of the Cold (OOTC) program will be offered in a new, innovative way this winter in the Beach.

Starting Jan. 8, about a dozen frequent guests of the city-wide, volunteer-run initiative will be spending Monday nights at Beach United Church. 

The four-month-long initiative will provide people with a nutritious meal, a warm place to sleep, and most importantly the opportunity to learn invaluable life skills they need when they move in to their own homes in the near future.

Typically, Out of the Cold guests drop into the program, but in this case those taking part in the pilot at Beach United have been invited based on their readiness for housing, 

“This is an opportunity for us to do the Out of the Cold program a little bit differently, to do dedicated work with individuals,” said David Reycraft, the director of housing services at Dixon Hall, which supports Toronto’s 16 Out of the Cold programs which are housed in churches and synagogues.

“This is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time.”

Reycraft said those chosen to take part in the pilot have frequented an Out of the Cold program for 25 per cent or more of the time it is open during the fall and winter months, and have demonstrated a strong desire to be housed.

To help pay for the pilot, Dixon Hall is using money it has obtained from the federal government’s Innovative Solutions to Homelessness funding stream. Some additional fundraising will also be done.

Beach United’s Rev. Karen Dale said the OOTC pilot lends well to her congregation’s focus on social justice, notably its efforts to help people who are under housed or homeless.

“We are always looking for projects that amplify that part of our ministry and Out of the Cold is a perfect fit,” she said during a recent interview.

“I think this has some real possibilities. It looks to the future of the Out of the Cold program.”   

Dale also said this is the first time Beach United has hosted an OOTC program and parishioners are excited about it and eager to get involved.

“We have a wonderful room and kitchen space. It’s meant to be here. We’re a community space as well as a sacred space,” she said.  

The pilot program at Beach United is essentially an extension of the one at the nearby Church of St. Aidan at Queen Street East and Silver Birch Avenue. That program, which was established in the fall of 2006, was set to temporarily relocate to Beach United this fall to make way for major renovations, but that has now been delayed to this fall.

In preparation, Beach United had made a multi-purpose room and commercial kitchen available on Monday evenings. The new pilot program will make use of those spaces until the end of April.

Matthew Kellway, who for the last two years has served as the chair of St. Aidan’s OOTC program, said his team of volunteers were eager to do more and are excited about this new opportunity at Beach United.  

“This is something tangible we can do. We’re on the verge of making something really work for people,” said Kellway, who started working to develop the pilot program last spring with Dixon Hall and Beach United. 

Kellway, the New Democratic MP for the Toronto riding of Beaches-East York from 2011 to 2015, said his desire is that if it is successful, Toronto might provide funding so that the city’s homeless can be moved out of church basements and temporary shelters and into their own homes sooner.

“Something has to change. We can’t be doing this every winter. We shouldn’t be depending on the volunteer sector to do the city’s job,” he said, adding the time is right for the Out of the Cold program to evolve from being an emergency stop-gap measure to one that gives people life skills and resources they need to move forward.

Reycraft, who hopes the pilot program will be replicated or implemented in some way in the future throughout the city, agreed.

He also said Toronto’s Out of the Cold program was never intended to be a permanent solution for helping the city’s homeless, but three decades later it has become a heavily relied upon service. That being said, he said there’s no better time to come up with new ways to deliver the program so that people can get a hand up, not just a hand out all year long.