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Urban Haven Project goes from drop-in centre to housing homeless
LONDON, Ont. -- A London charity is doing its part to help get homeless men in the city off of the streets this winter.
Behind Beth Emanuel Church, a group of community volunteers are preparing for their war on homelessness. The plan is for the Urban Haven Project to build off the success of its drop-in centre last winter.
"We want to do it again this year, but make it more purposeful," says Urban Haven Project Executive Director Dan Morand.
They purchased a pair of military-style winterized tents, which will house 15 to 20 men from January to March. They are men that just need a bit of help to find work, or need rehabilitation, like Lionel Rossignol.
"This will help get people off the street and pull themselves back together," says Rossignol, who is back on his feet after being homeless.
"I had to live in the river and the ice cold there, and it's not very nice. This will be great for guys to have their own bed."
He feels for those who are sleeping in doorways on Dundas Street, or in tents set up in back alleys.
This winter, select individuals will be sleeping on cots inside these heated tents.
"It's important for them to have personal space. We have heaters coming and lights so it will be really warm," says Morand.
Morand, who is the pastor at Beth Emanuel Church, says they will have access to church for washrooms and shower facilities.
Erecting the tents is just phase one. The next steps will be finding close to $40,000 in funding. Then they will need the 20 men and staffing before the program begins in January.
"From last year to this year we've lost six individuals, and by lost I mean they died," says Morand. "If we can prevent that, that would be awesome.”