The province is giving the Kenora District Services Board an additional $1.9 million for their homelessness prevention and Indigenous supportive housing, bringing their total yearly amount to just under $7 million
Henry Wall, the chief administrative officer for the district services board, said the announcement last week for the increased funding was good.
“This funding is going to enable KDSB to work with other community partners as well as with our own teams to make sure that there are additional support services for individuals that need supportive housing for things such as life skills development, case management and other wrap around supports,” he said.
“Making sure that people are set up to succeed and really moving forward, more like being able for us to continue on with the housing first strategy and [addressing] community service gaps.”
One example Wall pointed to was in Kenora where there is a gap in services in the evening when day programs close and the emergency shelter opens.
“This additional funding is going to help KDSP work with the community organizations and the community itself to look at closing that gap so that there is continuous program supports around the clock so that we don't have these service gaps in, in the community,” he said. ”This is going to go a long way, especially both in the hot summer months but also the cold winter months to make sure that there is always a place for people to be able to go to.”
"It's fair to say too, that while $1.9 million is quite a bit of funding, when we spread it out over the whole district, the whole region, it disappears fairly quickly, but this is very welcoming news.”
Wall said as they determine the exact details of what the new funded programs should look like, it’s an opportunity to engage with the different parts of the community to make sure that, “we get this right and this is a collective movement forward.”
“[The] investment supports the Kenora District Services Board in serving the needs of our most vulnerable and means more community members will have a safe affordable place to call home,” said minister of Indigenous affairs Greg Rickford in a media release.
According to the release, the province wide funding increase of $202 million for the Homelessness Prevention Program and Indigenous Supportive Housing Program, brings the total to $700 million dollars yearly.
The province said the increased amounts come from a revised funding model that better reflects the current needs of individuals who are facing homelessness across Ontario.
“The changes also address the recommendation in the Auditor General’s 2021 value-for-money audit on homelessness, which called for a better funding model for homelessness programs that would target areas where funding is most needed,” the province said.