Makeshift Homeless Shelter – GNSOTD Tue, Apr 14th 2020

With Concerts and Sporting events being off-limits, one has to wonder what is being done with all those big empty arenas. Well when it comes to the FirstOntario Centre; they have found what might be the best use.

It is being turned into a temporary homeless shelter for men!

The 17,000 square foot arena may be able to seat thousands for an event; that’s how many it can fit in the stands. But to turn it into a place where people can live, while observing proper social distancing rules, and also ensuring that the space is set up for there to be areas useful for sleeping, eating, and entertainment; the arena will be able to house 50 men, and up to 75 if a surge occurs.

The city said 50 homeless men will be able to sleep inside the FirstOntario Centre and there’s space for an additional 25 in case of a surge. Most other shelter beds are set up in a dormitory style. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

Each bed will be set up with plenty of space around it and a chair to sit in. Tables for the dining area are set up with only two seats to keep people spread apart to safely be able to enjoy the planned three meals a day. The media room has been transformed into a medical centre, capable of checking the men every day. They even have an isolation room set up should someone show symptoms of the virus, so they have somewhere to stay before being sent to the hospital.

Each table in the FirstOntario Centre only has two chairs, to maximize physical distancing. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

This is only using about half of the arena space, which means should the need turn truly dire there may be even more they can do if the resources and volunteers can be found to assist. This may not be a long term solution by any means, but it is helpful to take some strain off the other three shelters in Hamilton, and it’s a good use for a big, otherwise empty, building. That is more than enough to make it your Good News Story of the Day, and you can read how this came about in full; here.

The FirstOntario Centre is not the only empty arena in the country though, so here’s hoping this idea reaches others and the vulnerable community that is the homeless can find themselves cared for in this time of Pandemic.

Story and Images from CBC News.

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