THUNDER BAY – There is relief coming for homeless people in the region. The province of Ontario has stepped up with almost $600,000 in funding for the Social Services Relief Fund. “TBDSSAB and the Province of Ontario recognize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the vulnerable residents of the District of Thunder Bay,” says Lucy Kloosterhuis, Board Chair, TBDSSAB. “The Social Services Relief Fund will help to mitigate some of the effects of this crisis in our District.”
The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board (TBDSSAB) will receive $584,150 from the Social Services Relief Fund (SSRF) to assist vulnerable populations in the District of Thunder Bay.
At the end of March, the provincial government announced the SSRF, a $200 million commitment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. $148 million of this fund is provided by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) through the Consolidated Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI). In order to enable communities to immediately respond to the COVID-19 crisis, MMAH is providing 50% of the allocation immediately and will review the distribution of the remaining funds in the coming months.
Under the CHPI SSRF, TBDSSAB will receive $584,150, and is eligible for up to $1,168,300 in 2020-21.
CHPI SSRF is intended to be flexible to help a diverse range of vulnerable people in need in our communities, including people living in community housing, supportive housing, people with low incomes, social assistance recipients, those that are experiencing homelessness, and others who require social services support. The funds can be used towards building homeless shelter capacity (not including capital expenditures); use of motels or hotels; housing allowances; transportation costs; food and supplies; enhanced cleaning services; non-medical staffing requirements; protective equipment; in community housing and supportive housing to assist with housing costs for in-situ tenants; rent bank and emergency energy funds; and community outreach to support seniors in self-isolation.
To this point, TBDSSAB has secured access for up to 170 hotel rooms for social distancing and isolation purposes if necessary, and partnerships with community agencies to provide support to people who need to isolate or be quarantined.
TBDSSAB staff have been reaching out to housing tenants to check in and offer supports and increased outreach for the people we serve. Staff have also been in contact with non-profit housing providers throughout the District to support enhanced cleaning capacity and social distancing in all community housing properties.
We have also established the CHPI Emergency Pandemic Fund to provide financial support to organizations that are experiencing increased or new costs in supporting people experiencing homelessness or preventing homelessness due to the COVID-19 virus. Application forms for the CHPI Emergency Pandemic Fund have been distributed to service providers and member municipalities, and applications are still being accepted. Application information can be found on our website here: https://www.tbdssab.ca/housing/homelessness-prevention/.