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Shelter Care allows people entering the shelter system to also have access to health care

With the ongoing pandemic, organizers had to quickly develop a new model
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Shelter Care started at the House of Friendship in Kitchener. It is a concept that allows people struggling with homelessness to access health care while heading into the shelter system. 

The concept is focused on someone's physical or mental health, as well as helping a person possibly tackle addictions. 

When cases of COVID-19 started to increase in Waterloo Region, the staff at the downtown Kitchener location were worried the virus was going to spread within the community, so they decided to move to a new location. 

"We've doubled our capacity ... and we've been able to provide an increased level of support, care, and dignity by accessing a hotel," said Jessica Bondy, Housing Director, House of Friendship, during The Mike Farwell Show, on 570 NEWS. 

With the move, Bondy shared some of their successes. "We've had no COVID-19 cases at all across staff and the participants that we're serving, our incident reports are down by 40 per cent, meaning our work environment is safer, and that we're relying less on emergency services." 

They have also noticed overdose rates have dropped by over 50 per cent, which is something many other shelters or facilities across Ontario are not seeing. 

Bondy added Shelter Care is providing a space and place for 24/7, which can create a level of rest and reflection upon someone's life. 

"It's a chance for people to make choices in a supported way, so they can remain hopeful as they move forward." 

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