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Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre
Help starts here: SSMIC and 211 help Ontario residents navigate the stress of the winter season
Posted: Dec 19, 2017

December 19, 2017 – The winter months can cause both financial and emotional stress, especially for people living on a low income or coping with a change in their circumstances. Expensive utility bills, poor health and weather increasing isolation, or the challenges of feeding kids home for the holidays when your paycheck isn’t enough are a few examples of winter’s stressors.

The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) is proud to partner with the 211 helpline, which provides individuals and families with the help they need to brave the winter season. SSMIC provides information on local community and social services for individuals and caregivers to Ontario 211. By calling 2-1-1 from anywhere in Ontario, or visiting, residents can discover a wide variety of community services that support residents, including:

  • Community Volunteer Tax Clinics, offering low-income individuals and families help to file their taxes.
  • Financial support with utility bills, keeping heat on for families during winter’s cold months.
  • Holiday toy programs, helping children experience the joys of the holiday season.
  • Holiday meals and gift baskets to combat the hunger and isolation that winter and poverty can bring.
  • Out of the Cold programs, providing hot meals and/or beds to the homeless and hungry.
  • Snow removal for seniors and people with disabilities.
  • Winter coats and boots for children, to keep them warm through the cold of winter.  
  • Support for the homeless, including winter clothing, boots, sleeping bags and care kits.
  • Meals on Wheels and transportation assistance for seniors and those with disabilities, helping them eat enough food through the winter and make it to critical medical appointments in any weather.  
  • Friendly visits and calls for seniors, keeping them connected and providing cheer during the holidays.
  • Recreation opportunities, providing ways to make friends, get active and reduce isolation.
  • Mental health programs, including distress lines, crisis programs, support groups and more.  

“Providing quality information to the 211 database means residents are receiving the best referral for their situation and that they can call 211, 24/7, even on holidays,” said Paul Beach, Manager of the Community Geomatics Centre with the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre. “Working with 211 means our residents can speak to a real person and learn about programs that help those in need cope with the challenges winter and living on a low income brings.”

Internet phone users can call 1-877-330-3213, and TTY users can call 1-888-340-1001.

About Ontario 211
211 is a three-digit number that helps Ontarians navigate the complex network of human services quickly and easily, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in over 150 languages. Ontario 211 Services is a non-profit agency, established to develop and govern the 211 system in Ontario. 211 is supported by the Province of Ontario, and is a proud partner of United Ways across the province.

About the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre
The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) is a non-profit organization established in 1999 to function as a catalyst for economic development and diversification in the information technology and science knowledge-based sectors. SSMIC’s mission is to drive business growth, facilitate research and commercialize innovation in globally significant areas of science and technology through partnerships, expert advice, community development, business incubation, youth outreach and sector development activities. Key SSMIC business divisions include: Community Geomatics Centre, Rural Agri-Innovation Network, Business Support Services, YouLaunch, Lottery & Gaming and Smart Energy.