One Roof Community Centre in Peterborough extends hours during extreme cold

For many residents who are homeless in Peterborough, there are options to get out of the cold.

One Roof Community Centre, at the corner of Brock Street and Water Street in the downtown area, is normally open.

“Our emergency shelters, for people who are staying there, you can stay there,” said Dorothy Olver, manager of homelessness in the city’s social services division. “One Roof, we have an arrangement with them. When it gets cold, they will extend their hours.”

Normally, One Roof is open from 12 p.m. until 7 p.m. On cold days, when the mercury drops below -15 C, One Roof will extend its hours to 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., the opposite hours of the Warming Room on Murray Street.

“There’s now a 24-hour coverage period where there’s coverage for those folks. For many of them, they don’t have anywhere to go during the day,” added Olver. “Anyone can drop in.”

“We changed the weather threshold. Historically, we would wait for a cold weather alert from Peterborough Public Health or Environment Canada at -27. This month, we set it to -15 with the windchill,” said Olver.

“Any time that happens, One Roof extends their hours. They will call more people in to help.”

One Roof has also extended its hours when weather conditions are poor. Over the Christmas holidays, it did so during freezing rain.

“They have two meals they serve a day, one at 1 p.m. and another at 5 p.m.,” said Olver. “They try to do other activities around social inclusion like games. They also have other organizations come in to connect with people like the 360 nurse practitioner-led clinic.”

The City of Peterborough did a homelessness count in March 2018, and counted 259 people to be considered homeless. That’s a combination of people living in shelters, on the streets or couch surfing.

“People choose to go to many different places,” added Olver. “They may not go to One Roof. They may go to libraries or the mall.”

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