“Devastating”: 25 people without shelter options in the area

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Busby Centre, Elizabeth Fry Society seeking additional sites for people after COVID funding expires

PRESS RELEASE
BUSBY CENTER
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As the province has lifted most pandemic-related restrictions, COVID funding allocations, specific to maintaining the temporary hotel shelter model, have been reduced and public health guidelines, with respect to facility operations collectives, have been revised.

The cost of operating temporary emergency shelters from hotels is not financially viable. Therefore, shelter operators in Simcoe County are required to seek other options to stretch available funds as long as possible to meet the growing need locally.

The emergency hotel shelter model currently operating at the Barrie Travelodge will end on July 31. Both organizations have worked to transition to locations of regular shelter operations and, in conjunction with Simcoe County, City of Barrie, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and community service agencies are working to find a responsible solution to one or more alternative sites to accommodate the increased number of people requiring emergency accommodation space.

Elizabeth Fry Society Simcoe Muskoka and the Busby Center are in the process of fully returning to their home and increasing some in-home accommodation capacity as well as the addition of an alternate site, operated by Elizabeth Fry Society Simcoe Muskoka, underway facility for up to 10 women. This additional increase in female capacity has met most of the Elizabeth Fry Society’s transition needs.

The Elizabeth Fry Society Simcoe Muskoka and the Busby Center were also able to increase the capacity of their home locations to 92 places combined. We would like to recognize the increased risk to our staff and participants to increase our capacity while COVID is still on the increase in our community. We are happy to report that many people have moved or are moving into accommodation this month. However, the devastating update is that our home and alternate location spaces are now full and as of today, July 31, we will not have a viable shelter option for about 25 people. We anticipate that with all shelters being at capacity, there will be a bottleneck in the admissions process to shelter beds for the unforeseeable future.

Although funding related to the COVID-19 pandemic has enabled the expansion of temporary emergency shelter beds in Barrie, the current crisis that persists post-pandemic is the lack of accessible, safe, subsidized housing options and support for people experiencing poverty and homelessness in our community. Without immediately available housing options or a sufficient number of alternative beds in emergency shelters, homeless people will continue to be forced to live in unprotected places, giving up safety and food security, will have limited access to regular basic needs and transitional support to obtain housing and will continue to be subject to police arrests and enforcement, fines and evictions.

The Busby DETOUR outreach team prepares to support the increase in the number of displaced people in the community and, where possible, diverts people from other communities with warm transfers to their home community or other supports to avoid adding more people to already excess capacity. care system.

We would like to thank our dedicated teams and partners including Simcoe County, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, Barrie Community Health Center, RVH Infection Prevention and Control Team, Empower Simcoe, Canadian Mental Health Association, Salvation Army, Youth Haven, Canadian Drug Mart and Hep Cure, who have been supporting operations of the temporary pandemic hotel model since spring 2020.

A very special thank you to the Travelodge staff for their hospitality and helpfulness during our stay at Travelodge. A huge thank you to our incredible staff who have been on the front lines every day, providing compassionate and life-saving care to those experiencing homelessness in our community. We are all devastated that the community has not been able to find an alternative space for everyone to transition and we will now have more people living on the streets.

We hope the community will continue to support our organization to continue and increase our very important services in the community.

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