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There is assistance for homeless men in Dufferin County!

Why is there no shelter for homeless men in Dufferin?

“A gap in service, quite frankly,” were the words of Mono’s Deputy Mayor John Creelman in reference to the absence of a shelter for homeless men in Dufferin, at a special meeting of Dufferin County Council held on October 22nd, where council’s strategic priorities were discussed. “We are serving a very large part of all other segments of society, but that’s one where I have some real trouble with [regards to lack of support].”

In addition to concerns brought up by Mono’s Deputy Mayor Creelman, concerned citizens of Dufferin County have often questioned the perceived lack of assistance for men who find themselves homeless as well, as recently as October 25th on social media in one of the local Q&A groups.

Anna McGregor, Dufferin’s Director of Community Services, described how the county maintains a ‘by-name list’ which currently consists of about twenty individuals who are classified as homeless without accommodations. This has decreased from a number of forty-four in 2018, according to the Dufferin County 2018 Point-in-Time Homeless Count.

McGregor provided an overview of the different programs in place for different populations. Family Transition Place is accessible for women and children who are in need of an emergency living situation. Choices Youth Shelter is accessible to homeless youths ages 16-24. For men who find themselves homeless, short-term accommodations are provided through several agencies in the form of hotel/motel vouchers.

It was also explained that the amount of capital and resources required to build a men’s shelter, when it is ‘meant to be the band-aid’, are significant. McGregor expressed that if that money could instead be put into longer-term solutions and supports, this would be following the ‘housing-first’ model. This is the approach that the County of Dufferin has been following for several years.

“We’d take someone and rather than saying ’emergency shelter, transitional housing, and then housing’, we grab them and we put them straight into housing,” said Dufferin County’s Director of Community Services. With the twenty individuals who are currently classified as homeless without accommodations, funding is required to help them secure a residence. McGregor describes how this support could be in the form of a housing benefit or allowance.

“I do like what I’m hearing, and that is that there are options out there beyond the traditional sort of ‘bricks-and-mortar’ capital-intensive approaches that may be the first go-to’s,” said Shelburne’s Mayor Wade Mills. “I think given the current climate, that is where we have to put our minds.”

“This sort of touches on that broader question of being a service provider rather than bricks-and-mortar,” said Dufferin County’s Warden Darren White, referring also to social housing and long-term care.

“As I speak, we are currently in the process of creating some materials to send out to all of our local service providers and our local businesses to make sure there that everyone is in the loop on the information on who to go to so if you do find someone who is homeless and in crisis, you would have a number you could contact,” said Dufferin County’s Director of Community Services Anna McGregor.

Currently, resources for Emergency Housing Services can be found here on the Dufferin County Website. The number for the New Hope Community Church, associated with the Salvation Army, is 519-943-1203. The e-mail is newhope@wightman.ca and the address is 690 Riddell Road in Orangeville.

Special Meeting of Council October 22, 2020 – Dufferin County Youtube Channel – 37:01 for discussion on Men’s Homeless Shelter

Reference Links – Will there ever be a shelter for homeless men in Dufferin?

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