The Out of the Cold program began at Grace Place in the fall of 2018 through a Seed Grant received from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and 2019 – 2020 a Grow Grant was also received. Currently the Out of the Cold program is funded in part by TBDSSAB and Service Canada through our funding agents the L.S.P.C. Grace Place continues to seek permanent funding for this valuable public service. This program has come together with the collaboration of many social program and shelter supporters here in the City of Thunder Bay. Prior to the start of this program, for many reasons there were many cold-related deaths and homeless individuals who could not access any other shelter. For this reason, the Out of the Cold was born and Grace Place has been developing and delivering this program since 2018. The Out of the Cold seeks to be a safety net for those during the coldest months of the year.
Offering a safe, low barrier facility, and following a harm reduction philosophy has been pivotal to the reduction of cold-related deaths in Thunder Bay. This has also meant those suffering from addictive behavior, violent behavior, and mental health issues were able to access helps to housing.
• We offer a non-judgmental low barrier 25 bed emergency overnight shelter for those who cannot access any other shelter in the City of Thunder Bay.
• We offer laundry facilities so clients can have their clothes washed.
• We offer shower facilities.
• We offer a hot meal upon intake, a hot breakfast in the morning and clients receive a bagged lunch to go upon discharge.
• We offer free, good, used quality clothing through our Free Store.
• Clients are connected to housing supports weekly with an Outreach Worker from the Thunder Bay District Social Services Administration Board (TBDSSAB) at Grace Place Drop-In.
• We offer harm reduction supplies which are available upon request.
The Out of the Cold has 3 trained overnight staff. If our clients are successful, it has been because in many cases, we have been successful at being client focused. Having the adequate number of staff that are trained in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention and who offer a Trauma Based Approach to care, helps us remain client focused. Staff have learned that Homelessness in of itself is traumatizing and know each client coming to the Out of the Cold has experienced at least one trauma. Knowledge of Indigenous history and the harms and injustices they have endured helps us remain client focused. 75 % of our clients are of Indigenous decent and many who visit the Out of the Cold may be suffering from multiple traumas contributing to addictive behavior, violent behavior and mental health issues. Our staff seek to meet our clients where they are at while using a trauma-based approach.
Since the Out of the Cold began in 2017 it has been well utilized by it’s clients.
• 13,997 total stays since 2017
• 75% of indigenousness decent
• 8.2% homeless for over 10 years
• 19% reporting no type of income.
These numbers indicate the emerging homelessness crisis in the City of Thunder Bay and Grace Place has been part of a solution to help those who need it the most.
In April 2018, a Point in Time (PIT) Count for the homeless was conducted in Thunder Bay and volunteers surveyed. It indicated 474 individuals were experiencing homelessness.
The PIT Count indicated that there was a large homeless population in the City of Thunder Bay and that shelter resources were reaching capacity or already at capacity. The OOTC Program acts as a safety net for the shelter system when overflow is required.
7 nights a week
October 1 to April 30
9:00 pm to 8:00 am