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Re: "How to fix the city," January 7.

The Out of the Cold emergency winter shelter began organizing in the fall of 2008 as a response to a reduction in the number of shelter beds in Halifax. Together, service providers of all kinds created a safe space where those who could not access other beds in the city could come for the night.

Last year we were in Fort Massey United Church for the months of March and April. This year we opened on November 22 at Saint Matthew's United Church and have been operating at or near capacity. Our hours are 9pm until 8am and we will remain open until the end of April. Our shelter is staffed by volunteers who give their time to work shifts at the shelter, prepare and serve meals, clean and do laundry. We have over 50 volunteers right now and will begin another round of training in the coming weeks.

If we truly want to fix Halifax and the issue of homelessness, emergency shelters like Out of the Cold are not final answers. These are temporary solutions for folks who spend their nights on the streets in warmer weather.

What your article should have called for, what citizens of Halifax should call on their government officials for, is more affordable and supportive housing. We feel closing Pendleton Place and providing fewer services, like removing funds for drop-ins at existing shelters during the day, is creating a disservice to folks trying to access support and putting unnecessary strain on the community.

If you would like to learn more about the Out of the Cold shelter or get involved please contact

—Out of the Cold Shelter, Halifax

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