While “people’s lives” are on the line, the city will fund a warming center this winter

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“Maybe for other issues we can afford to go to consultants and talk to the county… but that, I think, is more urgent than that,” Coun said. Tim lauer

The city will contribute $ 17,000 to ensure that a warming center can operate this year.

Councilors Jay Fallis and Pat Hehn discussed the idea of ​​funding a warming center at the Lighthouse refuge. However, the location could change, board members heard at Thursday’s budget meeting.

Since talks began, more agencies have come up with potential funding and a downtown church has shown support for possibly hosting the warming center, Fallis said.

He didn’t want to reveal which church it was yet.

Some concerns have been expressed about the availability of service at the lighthouse as this facility is already home to people and there are capacity limits due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Com. Ted Emond questioned the source of funding.

“It is not the municipality’s responsibility regardless of our funding for social services and homelessness through our contribution to the county,” he said, noting that the city pays Simcoe County each time. year for social services.

The county also gets provincial and federal funds for these services, he added.

The county could probably find a way to fund the warming center, but “if we find the money, why would they try? Asked Émond.

Hehn is confident that more funds will be available, but she said there is an immediate need, and that includes hiring a coordinator to prepare the warming center.

“If we don’t, people are going to be out in the cold,” she said. “You have to be able to plan, and that’s why we need the money now. “

Talks with the county are ongoing and additional funding is “a serious possibility,” Fallis said.

“The city’s engagement would certainly make a difference in terms of engagement as well. “

There was talk at Thursday’s meeting of providing less than the $ 17,000 requested, but Council. Tim Lauer didn’t have it.

“What we’re playing with here is people’s lives,” he said. “It’s almost December. Maybe in other issues we can afford the time to consult with consultants and talk to the county… but that, I think, is more urgent than that.

When the weather starts to warm again next year, Lauer suggested that the city assess how everything went and then make a decision on the future of a warming center and its funding.

So far, he said, $ 17,000 “fixes the problem.”

Fallis expects more details on the additional funding and possibly the church that could host the warming center will be available before the budget is ratified on December 6.

Discussions on the operating budget ended on Thursday. Discussions on the capital budget will take place next week.


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