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Donations of warm clothing needed at The Bridges

With colder weather on the way, the Cambridge Shelter Corporation is asking for donations of warm winter wear for residents at The Bridges in Cambridge.
2022 2309 The Bridges BL 1
The Bridges shelter is looking for donations of warm winter wear for its residents.

With colder weather on the way, the Cambridge Shelter Corporation is asking for donations of warm winter wear for residents at The Bridges in Cambridge.  

“Currently, most of the people using The Bridges are men, so we have a great need for winter clothing including jackets, mitts, hats, socks, and pants, in sizes medium, through to extra large,” said Sharon Livingstone, board chair at the Cambridge Shelter Corporation.

“These are our biggest needs, but also at the shelter, there are men who are working. So, they need heavier clothing. Disposable razors and deodorants are also needed items and are always useful.”

The Cambridge Shelter Corporation operates The Bridges, a year-round emergency shelter and drop-in centre with 20 affordable, transitional, bachelor apartments for individuals experiencing homelessness.

The shelter offers a range of services, programming, and supports to assist clients with issues facing them so they can move forward towards permanent and affordable housing.

“Warm winter wear is our biggest need right now, but when we do rehouse people, they also need household items such as kitchenware, and cutlery,” Livingstone said.

“We do accept furniture, but we currently do not have storage for these items, so we ask people to please call the shelter before dropping off these items.”

Since the pandemic began, the Cambridge Shelter Corporation has rehoused 179 people.

“That’s because we have a terrific network of private landlords but as soon as we rehouse someone, another client is ready to come in,” Livingstone said.

Financial donations are always welcome.

And online, there is also a list of high demand food items such as oatmeal, coffee, and sugar. People are asked to call ahead before drop-off.

With colder temperatures, comes a greater demand for emergency shelter facilities   

“At The Bridges, we are already seeing huge numbers. There are currently no available emergency shelter beds in the region,” Livingstone said.

“Encampments are a huge issue and will be as we head into the really cold weather, what we call ‘winter over-flow’.”

The Bridges is also currently experiencing higher numbers of older adults who have been evicted.

“We are seeing an increase of about 35 per cent in older adults whose partner may have passed away or has gone into long term care and they are unable to pay the rent,” Livingstone said.

The Cambridge Shelter Corporation continues to work in partnership with other agencies to ensure that clients have access to the services they need to achieve personal success.

“It’s a difficult situation because sometimes there are issues that make it more difficult for rehousing, but the financial piece is the biggest issue. The challenge is that rents are just too huge,” Livingstone said.

Winter weather isn’t far away and The Bridges will inevitably see a greater demand for its services.  

"The need for shelter will only increase,” Livingstone said.

To make a donation or for more information, visit here

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Barbara Latkowski

About the Author: Barbara Latkowski

Barbara graduated with a Masters degree in Journalism from Western University and has covered politics, arts and entertainment, health, education, sports, courts, social justice, and issues that matter to the community. She joined CambridgeToday in 2021
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