November 12th, 2021. By: NewmarketToday Staff, newmarkettoday.ca, Original Article.
On Nov. 20, 2021, Mosaic Interfaith Out of the Cold – A Program by Blue Door (MITOC) will re-open for the winter season to provide safe refuge, warm hospitality, and emergency housing for those experiencing homelessness and food scarcity in York Region.
After many Out of the Cold programs in Toronto shut their doors due to increased health risks associated with COVID-19, Mosaic Interfaith Out of the Cold continued to provide services to those experiencing homelessness despite the challenges presented by the pandemic. The program worked closely with Ontario Public Health to ensure that safety measures were in place to keep staff, volunteers, and clients safe. The program served over 211 people seeking care in the 2020/2021 season.
On May 1, 2021, Blue Door and Mosaic Interfaith Out of the Cold amalgamated. Through thoughtful dialogue with representatives from both organizations, the pressing need to strengthen community homeless services in York Region became evident. Working closely together allows both organizations to provide increased support and work toward stronger programming in housing stability, health, food security and employment accessibility.
Through this amalgamation, MIOTC added a housing worker to their staff, to better serve individuals seeking permanent housing when accessing emergency housing. Three people were housed at the end of the 2021 season.
MIOTC will operate out of two locations this year: Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church and Ebenezer United Church in Markham. Individuals seeking support can access these locations and additional supports every day of the week from November to March.
Rehana Sumar, director of programs, seasonal and health, shared her excitement for the launch of this year’s program: “We are so pleased that we’re able to continue providing emergency winter beds despite the challenges through this pandemic. Operating for the first year under the Blue Door banner has opened so many possibilities for the Out of the Cold program and the clients we serve. It really is exciting”.