Just in time for the cold weather, a new community hub in Peterborough for people experiencing homelessness opened on Tuesday night (November 28).
The Trinity Community Centre, located at the former Trinity United Church at 360 Reid Street, provides a winter overnight drop-in space for up to 45 people every night from 8 p.m. to 8 p.m. until the end of March. The new winter overnight drop-in space replaces the City of Peterborough’s 30-bed overflow shelter program, which was operating at the Peterborough Public Library.
One City Peterborough is operating the Trinity Community Centre, which will also offer a daily daytime drop-in space from 1 to 5 p.m. beginning Friday (December 1). The daytime service, which will be available year-round, will replace the One Roof Community Centre daytime drop-in program at 99 Brock Street that will close on November 30.
Open to anyone, including those who need access to resources or connections to community programs, the daytime drop-in space will initially provide light snacks with the goal of developing a full meal program in the near future. The Trinity Community Centre will extend its hours during severe weather events to provide people experiencing homelessness with shelter from the elements.
The Trinity Community Centre is a collaboration between the City of Peterborough, One City Peterborough, the United Way Peterborough and District, and the Peterborough Poverty Reduction Network (PPRN).
The City of Peterborough is providing One City with $900,000 each year for three years to operate the winter overnight drop-in space and the year-round daytime drop-in centre. The United Way Peterborough and District provided One City with $200,000 in federal homelessness funding for renovations to the building.
PPRN bought the church property last year after the church congregation, experiencing low attendance numbers and facing severe repair costs for the building, voted to disband. While the property wasn’t publicly listed for sale, PPRN learned of its availability and entered negotiations to purchase it.
“Both the Peterborough Poverty Reduction Network and former members of the now disbanded Trinity United Church are pleased with the progress made by One City Peterborough, as they work to realize the vision of a community hub, serving those without a place to call home,” says PPRN chair Steve Kylie in a media release from the City of Peterborough.
“The centre not only offers short term respite from the challenges of living without shelter, employment, and the resulting lack of well-being, but also provides help in finding more permanent shelter, employment opportunities, and holistic support on a path to increased re-integration and participation in the community,” Kylie adds. “The Peterborough Poverty Reduction Network, working closely with the former Trinity United Church congregation and more recently with One City Peterborough, has resulted in the former church property becoming available for transformation into its new life in service of the community.”
The Trinity Community Centre includes new washrooms and showers as well as a new HVAC system, along with beds donated by Peterborough Regional Health Centre.
Other resources to be offered include a small storage option for personal belongings, on-site laundry facilities for the cleaning of bedding, harm reduction and safer use supplies, and an outdoor gathering space with privacy fencing. Hygiene items, wound care kits, and food and drink will also be provided as they’re available.
The winter overnight drop-in space will run until the end of March, and will reopen again next October 1 for the 2024-25 winter season. In addition to the winter overnight drop-in space, the city’s emergency shelter network operated by community partner agencies offers 127 shelter beds.