York Region faith communities relaunch Out of the Cold

  • November 18, 2021

In the suburbs north of Toronto, faith communities are still banding together to provide emergency shelter to the homeless this winter.

The Mosaic Interfaith Out of the Cold Program launched for the season Nov. 20. It will be the first full winter for the program operating under the banner of the Blue Door, a York Region agency that has been serving poor families in the region for 39 years.

In May, Mosaic Interfaith Out of the Cold and Blue Door amalgamated. With the combined resources of the two organizations, the program was able to add a housing worker to help overnight guests find permanent housing. In just a few weeks at the end of the season in the spring, the new housing worker found permanent housing for three people.

“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,” said Rehana Sumar, Blue Door director of seasonal and health programs and former director of Mosaic Interfaith Out of the Cold.

The suburban Out of the Cold will operate out of the Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church and Ebenezer United Church in Markham this winter with the support of other faith communities. In the 2020-2021 season the program helped over 211 people who needed a safe place to sleep and a hot meal.

The COVID-19 pandemic slowed things down, but working with Ontario Public Health on safety measures, the program was able to keep core services available for the most vulnerable, the Newmarket, Ont.-based Blue Door organization said in a release.

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