It has now been one week since the Municipality of Chatham-Kent’s Employment and Social Services (CKESS) department opened the doors to a temporary shelter for community members in need.
Municipal officials say over the last week, 43 people have registered at the shelter with some moving to motels based on the unique needs of the individual or family.
People who attend are provided with safe shelter, meals, clothing and other personal needs. Additional mental health, addictions and housing related support services also began this week.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the shelter staff team”, stated Polly Smith, director of employment and social services, in a press release
“We have faced some challenges but the quality of the services that we and our partners have been providing after only being operational for a week is inspiring. It’s a Chatham-Kent thing, and by that I mean municipal staff and community partners are willing to go way beyond expectations. Not surprisingly, we have enjoyed meeting those staying with us and are learning from them as well.”
One of the services that Smith is referring to, was made possible through a partnership between CKESS and CK Public Health utilizing community partners, resulting in the ability to provide three meals per day to individuals residing within the shelter, and to a number of other vulnerable people who have been set up in motels/hotels across Chatham-Kent, Municipal officials say.
Dietitians from CK Public Health ensured that the meals provided to those were nutritious, and food safety measures were followed.
Since opening, more than 1,575 healthy meals have been provided to more than 75 people in need daily. Community partners who offered their services include NeighbourLink, Free Help CK, Sandwich Guys/Street Friendz, Hope Haven and ROCK Missions.
Through the province’s Social Services Relief Fund, CKESS has been able to add another service to its continuum, as part of the coordinated access system, Municipal officials say.
Utilizing existing partnerships with Salvation Army, Canadian Mental Health Association, House of Sophrosyne and CK Women’s Centre, CKESS has been able to provide each person who attends the shelter with their own worker.
Municipal officials say this worker assists the individual in finding permanent housing, as well as any other needed supports including those for mental health and addictions recovery.
“A shelter is not a home and it has always been our goal to house people,” Smith added.
“Each year CKESS helps over 1,200 people who are at risk of homelessness stay housed and over 200 homeless individuals obtain a place of their own. The goals of this shelter are to keep people safe from COVID-19 and connect more people to housing. Mental health and addictions services are critical to success and our partners are providing these on site.”
Chatham-Kent Employment and Social Services offers income, employment and homelessness prevention supports to the people of Chatham-Kent. For more information on the department’s full range of services, visit www.chatham-kent.ca/ess or on Facebook.