Cooling Centre Available at International Aquatic Centre

am800-news-windsor-international-aquatic-training-centre-july-2-2020

Temperatures north of 30C without the humidex are expected to stick around into next week and many area shelters simply can't help the less fortunate.

Street Help's Christine Wilson-Furlonger says they're still feeding the homeless via curbside pickup and giving them all the fresh water they can, but they can't let them in.

She says the shelter's air-conditioning is working just fine, but they can't let anyone in until COVID-19 barriers are put in place.

"We're in the process of ordering that and it's a significant amount of money, over $40,000, but it's a necessity and we have to do it," says Wilson-Furlonger. 

Wilson-Furlonger says it's heartbreaking that she can't open her doors to help more people.

"It's maddening that we couldn't have done this a whole lot sooner but there is money coming down from the government and we've tried to apply for some of that and we have a lot of hope that they'll approve those costs for us," she says. "But the mixture of these two crises is really dangerous for people right now."

Wilson-Furlonger pled with Mayor Drew Dilkens to open a shelter in the meantime.

Mayor Dilkens must have heard her, as Windsor Fire and Rescue Chief Stephen Laforet announced the city opened an additional shelter already.

The Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre at 401 Pitt St. W. will open its doors from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. starting Friday.

"We decided that we will open up the International Aquatic Centre as an emergency cooling centre so that people who don't have any option to get out of the heat can visit there and get a break," he says.

Chief Laforet says extra staff, tables and chairs will be brought in to assure physical distancing is met, but that’s all that will be supplied.

Visitors will be screened and must bring a mask to be worn at all times.

"Bring your own reading material, so that it's not shared amongst people. We understand it's not the best situation, but under the circumstances it's the best we can do right now," added Laforet.

He says the city will re-evaluate the situation over the weekend, but the shelter is expected to operate until at least Monday afternoon.

"We're going to monitor the situation over the next couple days and into weekend and make a decision as we get some more weather forecasts coming in over the next four or five days," he says.

The day program at Windsor Water World on Wyandotte St. E. remains available for individuals experiencing homelessness. 

That program is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

— with files from AM800's Rob Hindi.