Virus shutters Ontario homeless shelter

An upstairs room at Origins Faith Community church in Ontario houses the New Hope Day Shelter. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

ONTARIO – The New Hope Day shelter at Origins Faith Community Church in Ontario will be closed for an indefinite period of time starting Monday, March 16, according to a statement released Friday morning.

Easily transportable meals will continue to be served at the 312 N.W. 2nd Street location on weekdays from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

The site is the county’s only homeless shelter. An effort to install tiny homes in northeast Ontario, though, is nearly complete. The last of 16 tiny homes were set to be in place Friday, March 13.

The homeless shelter opened last November and serves as many as 20 to 40 people per day. The project was months in the making and offers homeless community members respite from the elements as well as access to a shower, computers and a phone. 

“We are making this decision out of a sense of respect and support for the community at large and want to partner with the numerous organizations and entities who are already making hard decisions in an effort to stem the rate of infection in our area,” James Vogt, pastor at Origins Faith Community, wrote in a statement.

Vogt said Origins Faith Community will be suspending its Sunday worship for the next two weeks and will evaluate the decision in the coming days. 

He added that Origins will continue to offer online faith options on Sundays and during the week to help his congregation “stay connected and to offer a voice of hope to those in our community who may need it in this uncertain time.”

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