Gray County to invest more in short-term emergency shelter

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Gray County plans to use the increased provincial funding for its homelessness prevention program for emergency housing in the area, a need that has increased significantly over the past year.

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At the Gray County Committee of the Whole meeting, County Housing Manager Josh Gibson provided an update on the program’s 2022-2023 investment plan, which saw the province’s county allocation increase $157,297 over last year and now totals over $2.045 million.

Gibson said the plan is to use the extra funds for short-term emergency stays at shelters.

“We’ve seen incredible demand over the past two years for short-term emergency housing,” Gibson said. “This $157,000, along with what we hope will be additional funds, will be used to support this system and help people on an immediate basis.”

According to Gibson’s report, the service provided emergency accommodation for 6,100 nights to more than 870 households last year, a 16% increase from 2020.

Gibson explained that the program uses a motel system, which allows them to provide emergency shelter to people in or near the community in which they are located.

“We would help someone get into a motel where they are closest to their home community,” Gibson said. “They may be in a small community and not have a motel there, but we would bring them as close as possible.”

From there, the county is working with its YMCA community initiative partners to find a longer-term housing solution.

Gibson said the program is something they are always striving to improve, with a person from the YMCA program contacting the individual the day after their stay at the shelter.

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“They would contact them to come up with a housing plan to figure out what their goals are, what the stress is at this particular stage of their life to lose their housing situation, and then start looking for housing with them,” Gibson said. .

The HPP, formerly known as the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative, aims to support households experiencing or at risk of homelessness by improving access to adequate, suitable and affordable housing.

Over the coming year, the bulk of the funds – $720,000 – will go to the county program with five homes with related support providers in the area including Ayton Residential Lodge, Kent Residential Homes, Inglewood Villa, Meaford Place and Second Avenue Lodge. Supportive housing providers house an average of 72 residents per month or more than 25,500 nights of accommodation per year, according to the Gibson report.

Just under $565,000 of the funding will go towards preventing homelessness in the form of a sustainable housing allowance and paying the county’s two housing stability workers, who run the short-term housing program. term and connect with those who are or are at risk of homelessness.

Last year, Housing Benefit provided just over $300,000 to more than 460 households to help pay for last month’s rent, utility costs, items such as beds, appliances and moving expenses, pest control maintenance and moving expenses, according to the report.

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About $265,000 of the funding will go to services and supports that include the work of small community organizations like the M’Wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Center and Safe ‘n Sound, as well as staffing some services.

“Because Gray County has such a large geographic area, there are organizations in all of your communities that are really integral to supporting individual needs,” Gibson told the council. “Each year we seek to provide funds to help these programs continue and support people within the community.”

Just over $153,000 of the funding is for administration costs.

The funding is directly linked to the County’s 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan, which includes four key strategic areas, including creating more affordable housing, preserving existing stock, reducing chronic homelessness and increase in supportive housing. The plan is now entering its eighth year.

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Gray County has approved some changes to its bylaws governing traffic and parking on its highway system.

On Thursday, the council approved half a dozen changes recommended by the Department of Transportation Services out of 18 applications received, including changes to speed limits, intersection controls and parking and stops on county roads.

Changes include extending the 50 km/h speed limit on Gray Road 12 in the 7and line west of Meaford.

Matt Marck, director of engineering, said many concerns have been raised in the area, both by police and residents, about vehicles overtaking school buses and speeding.

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The only other approved speed limit change was on Gray Road 13 on the outskirts of Eugenia, which will now drop from 80 to 60 to 40 km/h.

A number of other speed limit changes, which had been requested, were not approved.

Gray Highlands Deputy Mayor Aakash Desai attempted to include a speed limit change for approximately 1.8 miles of Gray Road 32 where it rounds a sharp curve in the road near the East Back Line to the northeast from Flesherton from 70 km/h to 50 km/h. , but the board denied the request.

Marck said the area is already properly signposted with corner warning signs with reduced speed limits at 50km/h and 60km/h.

Another request that was not granted was a reduction in the speed limit along Gray Road 1, also known as Island View Drive, through Georgian Bluffs.

Marck said the region’s ratepayers association had asked for the speed limit to be reduced from 80 km/h to 70 km/h along the stretch of road.

Marck said all requests for changes are taken seriously and people have valid concerns about speeding, but all recommended changes are based on policy as well as Ontario traffic manuals, and on accepted safety and geometric criteria and guidelines. Marck said they strive to be consistent.

Another approved change was to the area of ​​the new Georgian Bay Community School in Meaford, where no stopping will be permitted along a section of the west side of Gray Road 7 south of the freeway intersection. 26. Stopping, but not parking, will now be permitted on the east side of Gray 7 Road in the school area

Parking will now be prohibited along the east side of a 50 meter stretch of Gray Highway 109 through Holstein.

A three-way stop at the intersection of Gray Road 29 and Concession 3 near Walter’s Falls will become a four-way stop.

The final approved adjustment is a time change for an adjusted speed rate for the Holstein Mennonite School zone from 3:40 p.m. to 4:10 p.m.

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