'Without it, I would have frozen:' Barrie man relieved warming stations are open

The City of Barrie's homeless community has been given a bit of a lifeline, with two warming stations now open.

"Without it, I would have frozen this morning from nine until it warmed up with cold feet and frozen feet from walking around from seven in the morning," said Derek Booker as he pushed his cart of belongings in -12C weather.

"I've already been kicked out of this parking garage for sleeping in the stairway," he added.

Booker was one of several people warming up at the Trinity Anglican Church downtown Wednesday morning.

The Catholic Family Services building at Dunlop and Anne streets is being used to keep people warm in the overnight hours.

Suzanna McCarthy with the John Howard Society said the facility had plenty of traffic through both warming centres during the day and night.

"We launched on Friday, so we've had 52 in that time. That is a big number. It is a lot of people that are not sleeping on the streets during the day or night."

Both facilities will remain open until the end of March, and that deadline could be extended if necessary.

The County of Simcoe has started its bi-annual enumeration to gauge what services are needed.

"It's a count of people experiencing homelessness, and it helps us understand the volume of need in the community, and it helps plan for services locally and deliver those services," said Irena Pozgaj-Jones, with the County.

The last count was conducted two years ago and revealed about 500 people were living on the streets.

"Having a snapshot of the issue of homelessness is critical information," Pozgaj-Jones said.

The official count started Tuesday night and will continue over the next two nights.

The County said it would take roughly one month to analyze the data before any decision can be made on what changes need to happen.