Who we are
Alliston Out of the Cold provides safe, respectful and welcoming overnight accommodation and meals to the homeless from November to April; facilitating connection to further services, resources and community.
Open seven nights a week from November 1st through to April 30th (depending on weather), Alliston Out of the Cold provides meals to the community and emergency overnight accommodations for people experiencing homelessness in New Tecumseth and the surrounding areas.
Over 250 volunteers donate their time to prepare, cook and serve dinner and breakfast to our guests every day and to manage our program’s operations.
Alliston Out of the Cold has a permanent location – 41 Paris Street, Alliston.
The ‘Out of the Cold’ program concept originated in Toronto in response to the 1986 death of a man experiencing homelessness. The late Sister Susan Moran, Father John Murphy, and Rev. Canon John Erb, with the help of St. Michael’s High School, made arrangements to provide for a location, food and volunteers for those experiencing homelessness in their area. A small storefront on St. Clair Ave. was opened on January 15, 1987. From this humble beginning the ‘Out of the Cold’ program concept spread throughout Toronto and into many other cities across Canada.
Here in the Alliston area, homelessness has, sadly, been on the rise. It is not as visible, but it is here and our program seeks to do its part to address this need. There is a huge lack of affordable housing options in the area and the waitlist for subsidized housing is 4-7 years long. There is one shelter for abused women which does amazing and sadly needed work in our community, but if a person is facing homelessness and is not an abused woman there are no local options. In the summer people experiencing homelessness will often sleep rough. Many people have set up a tent in a backyard or treed area in town. Youth often couch surf and sadly this regularly ends in being taken advantaged of or victimized. The closest options for shelter in the winter months are in Barrie, Newmarket or Toronto. Most people from this area do not want to be shipped off to an urban centre and often the urban shelters are at capacity.
Over the last several years, The Well, the outreach hub of Anchor Point Church, whereour founder, Brenda Powling, works as an Addiction and Community Service Worker, had been receiving an increase in requests for housing help. After a number of instances of being unable to adequately address the needs of individuals seeking assistance in the community, Brenda felt convicted to pursue alternative options for supporting those experiencing homelessness, especially in the cold winter months. She approached the leadership of Anchor Point Church, who own the building on the corner of Paris and Wellington St. with her idea for the program and they were in 100% agreement to use the building for this purpose. In early 2017 SCATEH (Simcoe County Alliance To End Homelessness) adopted to support the effort as well as various churches and community groups. With the help of some dedicated and passionate individuals, Alliston Out of the Cold became a reality in our community, and is proud to serve those in need.
Alliston Out of the Cold opened November 15th of 2017. The program ran 7 days a week, through to April 15th 2018, with over 250 volunteers who came together in various roles to pull together an incredible first year.The community support the program has received has been nothing short of amazing! What a blessing, that our small but mighty town can pull together with compassion to help people who are struggling to move forward. No wonder people want to stay!