When most people think about homelessness, they think about big urban centres, not smaller communities like the ones that dot Northern Ontario. But for a group of dedicated community volunteers in the City of Timmins, providing shelter for people who need a helping hand is a top of mind issue.
For the last 11 years, the Good Samaritan Inn has provided a place to stay, clothes to wear and food to eat for people in need.
Now, thanks to community fund-raising efforts, countless hours of work by volunteers and the support of a $100,000 donation from Goldcorp, the Good Samaritan Inn has purchased a new building, allowing it to continue helping people for years to come.
For Goldcorp Porcupine Gold Mines, Mine General Manager Marc Lauzier, the decision to help out was an easy one.
“Goldcorp is proud to be partnering with the Good Samaritan Inn, and supporting the purchase of a new building to provide shelter for the homeless,” according to Lauzier. “Supporting this excellent community-based group, the dedicated volunteers and the important work they’re doing is one way we can do just that.”
The need for the Good Samaritan Inn has never been greater. A recent study by Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ont., puts the number of homeless individuals in Timmins at 720. That includes 257 youth under the age of 15.
On any given night, the Good Samaritan Inn provides shelter, food and clothing to 42 people. This is especially important in Northern communities like Timmins, where winter temperatures often dip below -30 C. For a person with no place else to turn when the weather turns bitterly cold, a warm place to stay can make all the difference in the world.
“We all have a responsibility to look after the less fortunate,” said Ed Ligocki, chair of the Good Samaritan Inn’s Board of Directors.
But for Ligocki, the inn is about more than just emergency housing. It’s also about helping residents regain their lives and become productive members of society. That’s why the 800 people who use the inn every year can also access counseling, get referrals to community and government supports, and get help polishing up their resumes and searching for jobs.
The purchase of a new shelter means the Good Samaritan Inn’s good work will be able to continue for years to come. It is an accomplishment that is a credit to people like Ed Ligocki and all the inn’s directors. It’s also a credit to the staff and volunteers who put in long hours helping people and fund-raising, a local municipal government that has made housing affordability and availability a top priority, and businesses and community members who have rallied to support the inn. Goldcorp is proud to support such a worthy cause and needed service that makes Timmins a strong, healthier community.