About Out of the Cold
Out of the Cold is a community-based, volunteer-run organization that works to provide shelter & community supports to people who are homeless and precariously housed. We have existed since 2008. This year the shelter will be open December 1st through April 30th 2017. All are welcome.
Updates for the 2016-2017 Season
A MESSAGE TO OUR SUPPORTERS:
Out of the Cold is preparing to open for our 8th season. After a shorter season last year due to funding shortages we have re-evaluated our position and are aiming to once again be open from December 1st - April 30th 2017. Although our funding is largely unpredictable we remain committed to supporting our guest and others in our community who are homeless or precariously housed.
As always Out of the Cold is only possible through the work of our incredible volunteers! We are constantly in awe of the literally hundred of volunteers who work tirelessly to make Out of the Cold a possibility every season. If you are interested in volunteering or have volunteered before please go to the volunteer section of our website and see how you can support Out of the Cold!
Additionally, at this time of year we are also in need of both monetary and in-kind donations. We run on an extremely tight budget and every dollar more means we can reach more people and support them for more of the winter. In-kind donations of food, clothing, toiletries etc are all appreciated and put to good use. Please visit the donate section of our website for more information, we will update our website with specific needs as the season progresses.
Please follow us on social media for any news about plans for future seasons.
Looking forward to a working with new and old supporters to make this season a success,
Out of the Cold Organizing Team
The mandate of Out Of The Cold (OTC) Halifax is to provide shelter on a low-barrier, last resort basis during winter months, and to provide other supports for those who are homeless or insecurely housed. This season, we are making some operational changes in how we meet that mandate. Those who are familiar with our past operations may notice some changes.
The most notable change will be a reduction in the number of beds, and a shift from first-come-first-served to a referral basis (relying on our community partners such as other shelters, hospitals, etc. to identify when a guest is in need of a bed.) This also means that guests may be guaranteed a bed for a number of nights, rather than relying on first-come-first-served each night. There will also be a limited number of beds available for emergency use outside of our referral system.
We will also be focused on providing other supports to the population we serve, even those who are not in need of emergency shelter. This will include programming in the shelter space open to all, and localized support for people who are newly or precariously housed. We will also continue to provide nightly drop-in service to guests who do not need to use us as a last-resort shelter.
We have made these changes in response to the ongoing and evolving needs of the population we serve. In 2016, new housing initiatives have resulted in more options for those in need, which allows us to refocus on our role as a last-resort option. We are confident that these changes allow us to best fulfill our unique mandate as a temporary, limited-service, volunteer-run operation.
Low-barrier remains an important part of our mandate, and none of our policies around guest behavior, rules of access, or harm-reduction have changed. We will continue to provide nightly shelter to those most in need, during the coldest months of the year. And we will continue to provide a means for volunteers to meaningfully connect to those in need, with the support of the larger community. Our commitment remains the same, and these changes are our means of applying that commitment to the evolving needs of the community we serve.