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Local charity making a SHIFT for good!

S.H.I.F.T. provides outreach, meals, emergency shelter, and more

S.H.I.F.T (Support and Hope for Individuals and Families Today) Alliston would like to introduce itself.

S.H.I.F.T provides safe, respectful, and welcoming emergency overnight accommodation, meals, and supports to those experiencing, or at-risk of, homelessness and/or food insecurity throughout South Simcoe.

“In 2017 we first began operations as Alliston Out of the Cold, open throughout the winter months only,” explained S.H.I.F.T Donor Relations and Stewardship Officer Candace Gordon.

“In 2019, we rebranded and changed our name to S.H.I.F.T. While our Outreach program has operated year-round since it began in 2020, just this September, our shelter and daytime drop-in centre programming became a full-time, 7 days a week, 365 days a year operation. So, we wanted to reach out and let our community know a little bit about ourselves, and how they can get involved in helping people make a SHIFT for good.”

Gordon continued, “Our goal is to support individuals and families in ‘making a shift’ in their circumstances by way of providing consistent trusting relationships, honest communication, and promoting participant choice and empowerment.”

S.H.I.F.T does this through an outreach program in a mobile van that travels throughout the South Simcoe municipalities, the emergency shelter program and the daytime drop-in centre, with many supports provided in each of its programs, including food, clothing, toiletries, showers, internet access, computers, and more.

“Our day-time drop-in centre operates like a café and is a place where those experiencing homelessness can come and access food, a hot drink, warmth, shower, and pick up basic necessities,” said Gordon. “It’s also a place where folks can have access to computers and the internet to job search, apartment search, set up a virtual meeting, or anything else needed by our clients.”

The outreach program is mobile and out in the community seven days a week. “Our outreach team provides access to basic needs, harm reduction, food, hygiene items, and connections to local services, where needed and requested,” said Gordon.

She continued, “Our emergency shelter program provides shelter to any youth or adults, 16 plus years, of all genders, with no housing alternatives. The focus of the program is on the provision of shelter while assisting participants to access resources for community-building. Our aim is to support participants in feeling that they belong to and are engaged in the community. As a short-term, housing-focused shelter, the program is intended to bridge the gap between entering homelessness and moving into safe and sustainable permanent housing.”

In its lifetime, S.H.I.F.T. has assisted over 800 individuals in its housing-focused programming. It has provided over 10,000 meals throughout South Simcoe. There have been over 5,000 harm reduction interactions, providing lifesaving supplies and support. And there have been over 250 volunteers helping to make all this happen.

“In September alone, we had over 275 outreach van visits, and over 150 visits to our drop-in program,” said Gordon.

“We would love to invite our community to participate in our programming, in any way they can,” said Gordon. “We are always accepting donations of food, hygiene supplies, and clothing. Monetary donations are always welcome, and of course, regular monthly donations are very welcome as it allows for the purchase of much-needed items when they are needed most. Non-profits like S.H.I.F.T are always needing funding, and regular monthly donations are a wonderful bedrock to keep our programming going.”

Volunteers are also very welcome at S.H.I.F.T., to manage donations, provide meals, assist with programming, and so much more.

“It is very rewarding to be a part of the difference S.H.I.F.T. makes in the lives of those we serve,” said Gordon. “We hope you will join us on our journey!”

For more information, or to donate or volunteer, reach out through the website or call 705-435-7293.