Saturday, February 27, 2021

Emergency homeless shelter services relocating on September 8

Chatham-Kent’s emergency shelter is relocating services on September 8, 2020.

Municipal officials say individuals who have been experiencing homelessness and working with employment and social services will move emergency accommodations to motels on that date.

This new system of service, while similar to the previous shelter solutions model, provides more room capacity and more staffing supports to help individuals be successful in their stays and in securing permanent housing, Municipal officials say.

“The team at employment and social services is extremely grateful to our shelter stayers, people with lived experience, municipal colleagues, community partners and individual champions for their tireless support in working to end homelessness,” stated Polly Smith, director of employment and social services, in a media release.

“This has been a challenging time, but these problems did not happen overnight. The pandemic exposed the depth and breadth of the social issues in our community. These issues are happening across the country and we cannot keep blaming the victims. We know that while the work is challenging, it is much worse to be homeless, invisible or vilified than to bear witness to it.”

Municipal officials say since opening the temporary shelter April 29, 2020 at the John D. Bradley Centre:

– 167 unique individuals and families received services.

– 106 individuals and families engaged with staff to work on securing permanent housing.

– 77 individuals and families were housed.

– And 25 chronically homeless individuals were provided with permanent housing.

“Chatham-Kent maintains its stance as a ‘housing first’ community,” Smith said.

“Any activities focused on only sheltering individuals versus working towards permanent housing are not part of the community plan to end homelessness. Our temporary shelter was housing-focused as is this motel-based model.”

Community partners have been notified and outreach efforts to people who are homeless are well under way, Municipal officials added.

Anyone experiencing homelessness should call 519-351-8573 or visit employment and social services’ main office at 435 Grand Avenue West in Chatham between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

After hours, on evenings, nights, weekends and on holidays, individuals in need of emergency housing should call the homeless response line at 519-354-6628.

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