Chatham Hope Haven reopening but on limited basis
A Chatham men’s shelter is reopening June 22, but there won’t be any overnight stays allowed right now.
The operation is going to look much different than it did when it closed due to COVID-19 on April 25, said Loree Bailey, the general manager of Chatham Hope Haven.
The biggest change is that the shelter will be opening during the day as a cooling off station where people experiencing homelessness can come in for a break from the weather, use the washroom, have lunch, a shower and do their laundry.
The shelter will initially be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
As needs change, so will the hours, Bailey said.
The number people allowed inside will be limited to maintain safe physical distancing, she said.
“If we’re full and there’s people waiting to come in then people will have to leave so others can come in,” Bailey said.
The Municipality of Chatham-Kent has established a temporary homeless shelter at the John D. Bradley Centre during the pandemic.
Throughout the shutdown, Hope Haven has been working closely with other community partners to deliver meals to the homeless, Bailey said.
She said it was noted through conversations that although the Bradley Centre is providing a great service to the homeless, “If downtown is where they are used to being and it’s where they’re from that’s where they want to be.”
With libraries and other businesses, such as the Downtown Chatham Centre, still closed, there is no place for them to go, she added.
Bailey said, “We thought, ‘We’re here, we’re downtown, we have all the facilities.’
“A lot has changed in our world over the past few months, but our commitment to help those in need has not changed,” she added.
Bailey said volunteers have been keeping in touch and more are always needed.
She said it’s only 12 hours a week that volunteers are needed and they are confident they can fill those hours.
Anyone that is interested in volunteering is asked to contact Chatham Hope Haven at 519-351-4010.