Oral Funding for Choices Homeless Shelter | Citizen of Orangeville
November 25, 2021 0 comments
By Sam Odrowski
Work continues on a homeless men’s shelter in Orangeville, with the intention of putting something in place before the worst of winter sets in.
Choices Youth Shelter ran a homeless men’s shelter from August to mid-October this year in Orangeville, but had to close due to lack of funding.
Since it opened, which was made possible through a one-time anonymous donation, Choices President Randy Narine has worked to secure long-term funding to get the men’s shelter back up and running and said things are moving in a positive direction.
âWhere we’re at right now is we’ve verbally secured funding through the county,â he told The Citizen.
âNow there are a lot of obstacles, you have to take the plunge to receive this funding from the county because this funding comes from the federal and provincial governments, it has nothing to do with the city of Orangeville, so much money that they submit to the county. “
Choices initially hoped to receive one-time emergency funding from City Council in September, to get them through the winter following positive conversations with Mayor Sandy Brown and councilors, but in the end funding was denied. . At the time, councilors said they believed tackling homelessness at the local level was outside their jurisdiction and that it would be better to ask the county to deal with it.
Fortunately, the six men who received help while Choices operated the men’s shelter either reunited with their families or found support through another organization.
However, there are many more men in Dufferin County who need help, and over the past few months, finding a suitable location to open the men’s shelter on a permanent basis has been a priority for Nostril.
âI’ve been spending my time basically from September until now, trying to locate the appropriate facility,â he told The Citizen.
âNow there are a bunch of factors that we have to work with, and one is zoning. So there are certain places in Orangeville that are zoned for this type of facility, and if we were to put it in an area that is not, then it’s quite a process with the council where the residents have the possibility of concluding the whole agreement. “
Narine has said in all fairness that he understands why residents wouldn’t want a homeless shelter next door, due to the stigma associated with homeless people.
For this reason, he searched areas in Orangeville that have the correct zoning for a homeless shelter. Townline is one of those areas where Choices Youth Shelter is located, but the buoyant real estate market in Orangeville makes it difficult to purchase a suitable property.
âThe few times things have happened because of the heat of the market, it’s gone before I can do anything,â noted Narine.
Alliance Church as a location
However, there is potentially good news when it comes to securing a location.
The use of a section of the Covenant Alliance Church, located at 3 Zina Street, has been proposed as a solution, the only problem is that the property is owned by the Mayor of Orangeville, Sandy Brown, so Narine is concerned about a conflict of interest.
âIt’s all about taking public funds and handing them over to an elected official,â he noted.
Narine told the Citizen he was exploring whether a conflict of interest would apply here and Mayor Brown has already contacted the Dufferin County Integrity Commissioner for information on how and if the arrangement might go forward.
The Choices board will review this information tomorrow and decide how to proceed at that time.
âWe’re exploring what the conflict of interest really means with this whole business right now, as there are a few other factors. Yes, the mayor would derive income from it. Yes, it is money that comes from the federal provincial government, but the rate it offers us is significantly less [than market value]âSaid Narine.
Besides the conflict of interest, another key issue with church property is that it requires several renovations to make it appropriate.
âIt will add time. This will add costs. But the homeless committee has said that there are members of their organization and members of the community who are ready to come forward to fund it, âNarine noted.
However, he said he wanted to see a written commitment before moving forward.
“Without commitment, these are just words to me, especially after what I have been through with all the hardship of trying to get funding from the Council,” said Narine. âI’ll be honest, I thought it was a sure thing the way they told me, and then it turned out it wasn’t. So until someone comes to me with a check, it’s just talking.
âAnd I’m not trying to put it in a negative light. I just try to be realistic about everything, especially with the experiences that I have had.
Another possible problem with the advancement of the church is that there are two other tenants currently renting it out, one of which is a club organized with young people. Narine said he was concerned about potential interactions between homeless men and minors as it creates liability issues.
“I’m not saying something would happen, but I want to make sure nothing can happen,” Narine explained.
However, there are advantages to using the Covenant Alliance Church, as it is located close to the city center, which is important for enabling homeless men to access banking, shopping, social services. and appointments.
Although the church is only available for 15 months, so it is not permanent, but if it is the only option to run a homeless men’s shelter during the winter season and it is legal to go ahead, Narine said they will have to take it. .
“I don’t want to go into a temporary shelter and have to move again, but if that’s my only option to make it happen before winter, the end goal is really to help the homeless men out there. -low, âNarine said. .
âWe do our due diligence with everything. We’re not trying to override anything, even though we’re under fire before winter really hits. We just want to make sure it’s done right.
Narine says he will also continue to research other properties, in addition to exploring the church as an option, as buying a properly zoned property would be much more successful in the long run than renting the church for 15 months.
Motel Coupon Program
If the church breaks down and no other property is found, Narine says staff in Dufferin County have said they are increasing their motel voucher program, which pays for a motel or room in homeless hotel for a period of time.
âThey said as long as someone wants to protect themselves from the cold in the winter, the county will step in and help,â Narine noted.
The only downside is that one of the hotels that participated in the program was purchased privately and no longer offers rooms for the program, so there are fewer options.
Narine told the Citizen he would have more information to share on the future of men’s shelters following a meeting with the Choices Youth Shelter Board on Friday, November 26.