Council is waiting to decide whether to give $50,000 to a program to bring people off the streets in the winter.
In a deputation to Councillors, Grace Place Pastor Gary Macsemchuk says they helped over 170 people last winter with their Out of the Cold Program, but they need one-time emergency funding to run it again this year.
Service Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy funded it last year, but Macsemchuk explains they heard “early on” this year that they wouldn’t get that support for the coming months.
He says part of their costs are covered, however: an anonymous supporter has pledged to donate $1,000 per week, for a total of $33,000.
They’re hopeful an application for three-year funding through the Ontario Trillium Foundation will be approved as well.
Some of the costs come from expenses like heating, food, and water, and Council heard another big expense is that it’s run by paid staff, not volunteers.
Macsemchuk feels the Out of the Cold Program has saved lives, adding there were no deaths reported due to the cold weather in the program’s first year.
Pastor Melody Macsemchuk adds in the six-month pilot, they saw two people secure housing and another enter a rehab program in Kenora.
Council reacted positively to the deputation, but is asking city staff for their input and expects to hear their recommendations in early October.