Lower Sackville warming centre struggles to find volunteers

Centre will open in December, 20 days later than planned

As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, people in Lower Sackville waiting for a new warming centre to open are going to have to wait a bit longer.

The centre, located at the back entrance of Gateway Community Church, was supposed to open Friday, but a shortage of volunteers has delayed the opening to Dec. 4.

“It’s been challenging to actually get volunteers,” said Mike Poworoznyk, the director of the warming centre. “We’re getting close but we still need a few more volunteers in order to make sure that we have people on every shift.”

The centre has 18 volunteers, but it needs 24 to cover all of the shifts. There are two shifts a night, and three people are needed for each shift.

Poworoznyk said the centre is struggling to find volunteers because shifts tend to conflict with work schedules. Many of the current volunteers are retired, he noted.

This door at the back of Gateway Community Church will be the entrance to the new warming centre.   Jakob Postlewaite

There are a few warming centres on the peninsula, including St. Matthew’s United Church and Metro Turning Point Centre. Outside of the city’s core things get more difficult.

Poworoznyk said the centre will give homeless people in Lower Sackville a way to stay in their community instead of having to travel to the peninsula. He said the goal of the warming centre is to make connections with the people who use it, find out their barriers to housing and connect them with services and resources.

“It will give people an opportunity to get out of the cold, get some soup and a cup of coffee, relax and build some relationships with people,” he said.

Poworoznyk said more volunteer applications are coming in and orientation and training sessions will start soon.

The centre will operate from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. four days a week.

Jakob Postlewaite

Jakob Postlewaite

Jakob Postlewaite is a fourth-year journalism student at the University of King's College. He has worked as a columnist and reporter for the Cape Breton Post under his own byline. He also studies film at Dalhousie University.

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13 comments

  1. Knowing the issues youth deal with and also I have supported youth in lower Sackville over the years as well as the harvest program.

  2. I read about the need but was discouraged by the requirements. I am a Sr. But don’t have the ability to do the red cross course as I can not get on My knees to do C P R

  3. should really consider finding ways to pay people instead of relying on volunteers , maybe there are grants available. if the problem is that people can’t afford to take work off , then it seems to be pretty clear what the solution needs to be .

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