Published by Sarnia and Lambton Country this week on September 23rd, 2022

In her 16 years working at Sarnia’s River City Vineyard, homeless shelter manager Audrey Kelway has never seen things as bad as now.

Ever since COVID came to Lambton County in early 2020, the number of people accessing services at the Mitton Street facility has gone through the roof, Kelway said. Staff are overworked and many have been pushed to their breaking point.

“Things have gotten 10 times worse since the pandemic started – things are crazy. Our work has increased by 10 times.”

Before the pandemic, River City Vineyard dealt with roughly 30 people per day. That number has now nearly tripled – Kelway estimates the shelter deals with about 80 per day on average, and resources are scant.

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The photo is owned by Sarnia this week.