Inn From the Cold – Our Story
In the winter of 2004, a call was received in the Mayor’s Office asking where a homeless person might stay when the emergency shelters were full and the temperatures were so cold it was not safe for anyone to be outdoors.
A discussion with then Mayor Tom Taylor led to the opening of a warming centre at the Old Town Hall. This centre provided shelter, hot beverages and a warm place to stay at night. The warming centre was supported by Town of Newmarket employees who agreed to volunteer their time to keep the Old Town Hall open on these very cold nights. Using the same criteria used by the City of Toronto, it was agreed to open the warming centre on nights when the temperature fell below -15C.
The first 25 volunteers consisted of Town of Newmarket employees and members of the Newmarket Council. Through word of mouth, an additional 20 volunteers from the community were recruited and signed up to volunteer their time to keep the warming center open on cold nights.
During the first year, the Newmarket Community Church offered their location to house IFTC. Starting December 1st through to March 31st, we opened on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and any other night the temperature dropped below -15C. The following year the shelter was moved to the basement of Trinity United Church on Main Street. This was an ideal location as many of the community meals operate in and around Main Street and it was easily accessible to public transit. However, the location created some safety issues for the church.
When the opportunity to move to our current location at 510 Penrose arose, the Board of Directors decided it was time to have a permanent location and expand services. At that time, the community meal was established. Every Friday night, the community is offered a delicious and nutritious meal and an opportunity to get out and socialize. This meal is provided by local community organizations.
Currently, IFTC provides seasonal shelter services seven days a week during the winter months and day programming. In addition, IFTC now operates a housing program for four chronically homeless men and the Getting Ahead in a Just Getting’ By World program.
IFTC has developed partnerships and memorandums of understanding with several community and regional organizations to augment our services including, LOFT, CMHA, EMS, The Krasman Centre, Steps to Recovery, ASYR, YSSN, and other shelters in the region.