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LETTER: Lighthouse gives shelter to everyone, 'without discrimination'

'Our diverse staff works diligently to ensure the safety of each individual who enters our shelter,' says Lighthouse official
The Lighthouse offers a youth outreach program.

OrilliaMatters welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected] or via the website. Please include your full name, daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter is in response to a letter, titled 'LETTER: Homeless 2SLGBTQIA+ community needs support,' published May 23.

I would like to begin by offering my sincere and deepest condolences for the loss of Linda Reid’s son. The loss of a child is a profound tragedy for both the family and the community. 

Thank you for reaching out regarding The Lighthouse and our work. I would like to clarify and raise awareness around a few points to prevent any possible misunderstandings.

The Lighthouse provides shelter to anyone in need, without discrimination. Our diverse staff works diligently to ensure the safety of each individual who enters our shelter. With up to 60 people in shelter, up to 20 in supportive housing, approximately 60 community members participating in our lunch program, and over 50 individuals living on the street, The Lighthouse offers 13 unique services aimed at providing safety and supporting individuals towards housing.

Congregate living settings are challenging. Imagine being in a room with 2-4 strangers while in survival mode, possibly fleeing from trauma, mental health issues, or addictions. We understand this difficulty.

Our compassionate staff are incredibly selfless individuals dedicated to supporting everyone. We have specific expectations for every participant to ensure collective safety and do our best to accommodate unique situations. As with all shelters, some people move between different locations to find the best fit. We have individuals who come to us from other shelters seeking safety, and others who leave for the same reason. Everyone working in the homelessness sector shares a passion for helping people. It is hard work, yet we always do everything we can.

The column published on May 20 about our new youth outreach program provided a brief overview. Listing every partner we work with in one article is impossible since all our work involves multiple collaborations with specialized organizations, including the Gilbert Centre.

On our website, under Partnerships, you will find the Gilbert Centre listed as one of our on-site service providers. Under What We Do, there is a Services Guide that I urge you to review for a better understanding of our services. The guide, which includes partners like the Gilbert Centre and many others, is updated quarterly to reflect new services.

The Lighthouse's vision is a thriving community where everyone has hope, home, and a future. For this letter, I want to emphasize the word "everyone."

We continually evaluate our services and programs, explore new opportunities with partners who have specific expertise, and are open to discussions about our operations.

We couldn't achieve what we do without our community's support and collaborative partnerships.  As the only emergency shelter in Orillia, we strive to share information, create awareness, and educate the community. Such as through the OrilliaMatters columns.

If you have any specific questions, please email me directly at [email protected]. I am always open to conversation.

Linda Goodall
Executive Director, The Lighthouse