Temporary Shelter Created at WIATC
The Downtown Mission of Windsor (Downtown Mission), in partnership with the City of Windsor (the City), supported by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) and numerous other coalition partners are putting in place the emergency supports required to ensure that Windsor’s vulnerable populations can access temporary shelter facilities following a COVID-19 outbreak at the Downtown Mission.
Medical Officer of Health for the WECHU, Dr. Wajid Ahmed, has issued an outbreak order under the Health Promotion and Protection Act (HPPA) Section 29(2) limiting the continued operations of the Downtown Mission in Windsor, in response to the recent COVID-19 outbreak and rise in cases. To support vulnerable persons in need of emergency shelter services, the City of Windsor and a coalition of partners are working to establish a temporary facility at the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre (also known as the aquatic centre) at 401 Pitt Street West. It is anticipated that this site will be open and operational effective Wednesday, February 24, 2021.
In partnership with the City and with support from the Canadian Red Cross, the aquatic centre shelter will be fully operational along with staffing resources from a number of local agencies. The Downtown Mission has entered into a Collaboration Management Support Agreement with Assisted Living Southwestern (ALSO), the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Family Services Windsor Essex (FSWE), and Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare (HDGH) for the aquatic centre location. The partnership will support the staff of the Downtown Mission at the temporary emergency shelter. Use of this facility to support vulnerable persons will continue until the WECHU determines that the Downtown Mission site can safely re-open, in compliance with public health guidelines.
On February 16, 2021, the Province of Ontario lifted the "Stay at Home" order for Windsor-Essex and classified the region as "Red-Control" as part of Ontario’s Re-Opening Framework. Since that time, COVID-19 cases related to vulnerable persons have increased and the Downtown Mission was declared in “outbreak” by WECHU on Thursday, February 11, 2021. To help reduce the public health risks, while also supporting Windsor’s most vulnerable population, the Downtown Mission has partnered with local social service providers as well as the City of Windsor to develop this short-term site at the aquatic centre.
“We must come together as a community to support those who need help the most during this public health crisis. In 2020, the City of Windsor provided the Downtown Mission with approximately 1 million dollars in emergency funding to support their operations during the ongoing pandemic. And when the Health Unit was forced to shut their facility, the City of Windsor mobilized resources quickly to open this temporary emergency shelter at the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre. We all need to do our part.” – Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens