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Youth leaving child welfare, former prisoners and mental patients struggling with homelessness

More community support is coming
homeless sleeping on street

Adults leaving prison will join young adults leaving the child welfare system and those leaving mental health care in getting additional community support to live in the community.

A Simcoe County report found that these three groups are incredibly vulnerable to homelessness and the county is proposing boosting funding to community-based services to reinforce the social safety net to ensure these people don’t fall out of the housing system.

“The intent is to prevent more serious homelessness as people leave those formal systems,” said Jan Janssen, the county’s children’s and community services director.

The vulnerable individuals need support so they can live adapting to living in the broader community, she explained, adding that the 20,000 Homes survey conducted last year found that 13 per cent of those struggling with homelessness have spent time in jail within the past six months.

The county is boosting funding to community agencies from its 2016/17 provincial community homelessness prevention funding, as it spreads out $522,640 of provincial grants. Community agencies will expand their services to new areas or new groups as they work to help those at risk of homelessness.

Barrie’s Youth Haven, for example, will receive $200,000, to extend reach and support to youth in Orillia and south Simcoe. The shelter already reaches beyond Barrie to youth in Midland.

Simcoe Community Services will receive $100,000 specifically to help youth leaving the child welfare system find housing. The agency will also expand its program to people leaving jails.

The Georgian Triangle Residential Resource Centre is receiving $47,000 to boost rental allowances and assistance for people with mental health struggles.

The county will also boost per-diem funding for shelters throughout the county, including the Salvation Army, the Elizabeth Fry Society and Youth Haven.