The Old Brewery Mission is employing new emergency measures this winter to help the homeless population with a warm place to stay during the day, and not just at night.

Considered a new approach to helping those experiencing homelessness, until recently most shelters took people in at night, but forced them to leave in the morning.

On a frigid day, it can be a turning point in a homeless person's life.

Since Dec. 1, the Old Brewery Mission is now allowing its clients to stay inside 24/7, giving them with access to a warm shower, laundry services and a locker to store personal items. They also receive a hot meal.

Many are using the service – the Old Brewery Mission served 35,000 meals last month.

In addition to the change, the hours of the shelter's roving shuttle bus have been extended by four hours per night, so it now runs until 6 a.m., providing people with lifts to a shelter that has room.

The new plan to allow people inside all day is not just for warmth: for the first time, counsellors at the mission have a chance to really meet everyone, getting to know them and their stories.

“It means there are fewer homeless people outside on the streets and there's more inside where it's warm and safe. What happens inside is they'll be meeting with counsellors and we will be working with them to try to diagnose the circumstances that they're in and identify pathways out of homelessness with them,” said Old Brewery Mission President Matthew Pearce.

The mission is reporting that it is moving chronically homeless people into living in housing in five to six weeks, which they say is a success.