Help for the vulnerable as winter approaches

A homeless man in a winter coat. (File photo by Manuel Alvarez from Pixabay)

Chatham-Kent and Windsor are getting a chunk of provincial funding to help protect their most vulnerable people from COVID-19.

Chatham-Kent Leamington MPP Rick Nicholls announced on Monday that Chatham-Kent will receive $761,289 and the City of Windsor will receive $4,475,031 in social services relief funding to assist those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The funds for Chatham-Kent will help to continue operating emergency shelters, provide rent relief, increase cleaning in community housing, and support community outreach. The funds for Windsor will fund emergency shelters, isolation and recovery centres, new homelessness day programs, and the food bank network, as well as support renovation to existing buildings to create affordable rental units and emergency shelter for single men.

“Our government is investing in important projects like this to help protect our most vulnerable citizens from COVID-19,” said Nicholls. “We’re working hand in hand with our partners to make sure they have the tools and flexibility they need to keep people safe.”

The local social services money is a portion of the $241 million announced for the entire province. It’s also part of the government’s $510 million in total investment to help protect the health and safety of the province’s most vulnerable people. The funding is aimed at protecting and supporting homeless shelter staff and residents across the province, creating or renovating over 1,500 housing units, expanding rent support programs and creating longer-term housing solutions.

“We know that our municipal and Indigenous partners are facing extraordinary challenges, which is why these significant investments are so important,” said Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark. “Our investments are helping to build longer-term solutions as well as meet ongoing, immediate needs related to COVID-19.”

The Social Services Relief Fund is a share of the up to $4 billion being provided to Ontario municipalities under the federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement. It will help municipalities protect the health and well-being of the people of Ontario while delivering critical public services, such as public transit and shelters, as the province continues down the path of economic recovery, said Nicholls in a news release issued Monday afternoon. Ontario launched the Social Services Relief Fund in March.