Homelessness Prevention System Funding
The County of Simcoe continues to work closely with local community stakeholders to develop diverse, responsive, and innovative homelessness prevention supports and services. The Housing Our Future: Our Community 10-Year Affordable Housing and Homelessness Prevention Strategy specifically outlines creating an integrated service model for housing and supports as a key priority.
This week, Council approved $1.2 million of funding in 2020-21 to assist more than 30 service providers to deliver of a wide array of homelessness prevention supports and services through the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI), including Supportive Housing, Emergency Shelters and Supportive Transitional Housing.
Youth Transitional Housing Initiative
The County of Simcoe was recently approached by Youth Haven regarding a proposed Youth Transitional Housing Program, to be located at 46 Toronto Street, Barrie. The current property owner, Morton House, will be closing at the end February 2020, and its Board of Directors has offered the building to Youth Haven on a lease-free basis, to be used for Youth Transitional Housing purposes. This 10-12 bed facility would serve as a temporary bridge to the Youth Transitional Housing Program, included by YMCA Simcoe-Muskoka in its new build design.
Council approved $200,000 in funding to support Youth Haven with the estimated $300,000 operating costs of a one-year period from 2019-20 to help address homelessness prevention pressures across the local system.
Transfer Facility Design Requirement for Bi-weekly Collection
In February 2020, the County joined the majority of municipalities in Ontario and adopted a bi-weekly collections schedule to grow the County's green bin program, restore predictability to collections and help lower emissions by reducing the number of trucks on the road each day. This bi-weekly collection schedule will continue with the next collections contract, starting in late 2021.
With collections on alternate weeks, one curbside collection truck now serves each household every week, rather than two in the previous system. Our trucks will therefore reach capacity quicker, thereby needing to empty at a transfer station and then return to the route to complete collections more frequently. Providing locations to empty collection trucks closer to the route is essential to minimize off-route time, make collections more efficient and be cost effective. This week, Council approved staff to proceed with the transfer station building design and site design for new transfer facilities sited at existing landfills and transfer centres and the proposed Environmental Resource Recovery Centre (ERRC), in anticipation for construction in 2021. Additional reports, including costing, will be presented for Council's review at future meetings.
#ITSTARTS Public Education and Social Media Campaign
The Simcoe County Local Immigration Partnership (LIP), in collaboration with the Cultural Competency Working Group, will lead the fourth annual #ITSTARTS campaign throughout March 2020. The 2019 campaign reached almost 3 million users, who were encouraged to take part in the movement.
To support the development of welcoming communities in Simcoe County and the #ITSTARTS campaign, LIP is running Cultural Ambassador Training across our member municipalities and separated cities. These training sessions help to reduce discrimination and racism and encourage cultural competency. Last year, 83 ambassadors were trained at information sessions organized by the County.
Agreement for the Delivery of Personal Support Services at Georgian Village
The North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) plans, integrates and funds local health care. In December 2013, the North Simcoe Muskoka Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), now referred to as LHIN Home and Community Care, approached the County of Simcoe to deliver Personal Support Services to Georgian Village residents affected by the CCAC's contracted service provider's labour disruption. When the labour disruption ended and CCAC's contracted service provider resumed the personal support services at Georgian Village, residents approached Georgian Village Management with concerns of constant late or missed visits, as well as inconsistency of worker by the contracted service provider. County Seniors Services Management met several times with the CCAC to discuss these concerns.
In January 2020, the LHIN accepted the County's request to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the County for the provision of personal support services to LHIN clients residing in Georgian Village to improve the client experience through enhanced continuity of care, timely visits, and efficiencies through a centralized staffing model.
Specialized Transit Ridership Growth
The Simcoe County LINX Plus transit service began operation in September 2018. The service generally operates within approximately 400 metres of the County's fixed transit routes, providing a combination of door-to-door and transfer services to and from fixed routes. Specialized transit is a requirement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
Council approved a one-year pilot project to utilize existing capacity and expand the service area so that more county residents have access to specialized transit. The pilot project will enhance the specialized service for customers in the rural areas beyond the mandated 400 metres of the conventional fixed based routes. Operating within a few kilometres of a fixed route on rural concession roads is anticipated to have limited impact on the existing service and will improve service to residents with disabilities.