'Out of the Cold' program seeing dramatic increases
Published Tuesday, November 20, 2012 2:14PM EST
Organizers of the 'Out of the Cold' program has they are worried, because they're seeing a significant increases in the number of people looking for a warm bed at night.
67 year-old, Alex Anderson had to return to the 'Out of the Cold' program, after years of having his own place.“I’ve got two bad legs, two bad arms and I can't work.” says Anderson
After only being open for more than a couple of weeks, organizers are seeing a dramatic spike in demand.
Cathy Stewart-Savage is the coordinator for First United Church 'Out of the Cold' program says, “We were hoping that they would not get too much bigger this year.. but the beginning of the season has been showing a tremendous increase again.”
So far this year, program use has jumped forty-percent from last year. Organizers are even more concerned because more women are using the program. Last year that figure went up by 200-hundred percent. Organizers say local women's shelters are often over capacity.
Overall demand has been rising since the recession hit a couple of years ago.
Peter Nevin is a volunteer he says, “A good chunk of them are working poor. Forty-per cent of them have to get up early to go to jobs first thing in the morning.”
Last year the average number of overnight guests was fifty.
“In the first two weeks of the program, we've already exceeded sixty people over night at least three times I believe… so it's not looking good” says Stewart
For Anderson, he says one way to deal with the problem is to turn away people he believes are abusing the program. "They're looking after us and if nobody appreciates it they shouldn't be allowed in”