A place aimed at ending chronic homelessness is celebrating a grand opening.

A homemade sign at the Living Space opening. Photo Credit: Mackenzie Read – Moose FM

Renovations and work in Living Space started about a year ago, with operations starting back in January. CAO at the Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board Brian Marks says Living space is unique because it has the overnight warming shelter, as well as a connecting forum. “The employees that are here at night, they see people. But hopefully, they can make the connection to say why don’t you stick around in the morning and we’ll have you talk to somebody, or make the connection for somebody who can address some of the other issues that somebody might have.”

Marks says to address that need, the main floor of the building will be a service hub and space for a primary care facility, whether it be a doctor or nurse practitioner. He says the top floor offers transitional housing.

He adds that funding for the project came from a number of areas, including $200,000 from the City of Timmins, but the ongoing operating costs will be supported by the 13 units on the top floor, “so there will be no ongoing commitment from municipal taxpayers to pay for this.”

Marks says Living Space is more than just the building. He says it exciting that this is also only the beginning. “What is going to make Living Space fly and really end homelessness in Timmins is going to be a solid volunteer base, so we need a lot of people, and we need people who know how to put volunteers to work. Because volunteers when they put their name forward, they want to be useful, so we need to coordinate that.” Marks adds that “we also need a charitable giving and foundation program. There’s a lot of work that needs to happen and we’re hoping that this building, in addition to serving the practical purposes that I outlined, also just serves as a place that people can recognize as Timmins’ answer to homelessness.”

He says the main floor renovations should be finishing up in the next few weeks, making the whole centre operational.