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County enters new agreement to provide service for homelessness

Updated: May 22

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Last year, it was estimated that there were 512 individuals in Windsor-Essex experiencing homelessness.

And while updated numbers and in particular how many there are in Essex County are not available, it is perceived that those either currently or potentially facing homelessness, will increase.

At last Wednesday night’s Essex County Council meeting, it was agreed to enter into an agreement with Family Services Windsor-Essex to provide services in the county to assist those who are experiencing being homeless in the county.

“Family Services Windsor-Essex has demonstrated the ability to develop and implement the programs required for the Homelessness Hub,” explained the county’s manager of community services Jeanie Diamond-Francis.

In the fall of 2022, the county set up a Homelessness Hub at 215 Talbot Street East in Leamington. Information provided by Diamond-Francis said that the county is now utilizing two hotel rooms in that municipality to provide accommodation for those who are homeless.

“I am sure the numbers will grow and you will be dealing with a lot more in Leamington,” said Essex Councillor Kim Verbeek who was sitting in on the meeting in place of Deputy Mayor Rob Shepley.

Diamond-Francis said that the agreement with Family Services includes having a lot of great ideas to help those in need including having a full-time outreach worker as well as being able to provide transportation.

“To date the emergency shelter program for the county is operated by the City of Windsor out of hotel rooms in Leamington,” she said.

In her report she said that the agreement with Family Services will cost $470,000 per year of which funds come from the city which are allocated by the provincial government.

Councillor Mark Carrick, who was sitting in for LaSalle Deputy Mayor Michael Akpata, said that there are a lot of people in distress.

“The level is a lot worse than what we all know. Families have been keeping it secret,” said Kingsville Councillor Tony Gaffan, who was representing that municipality in absence of Mayor Dennis Rogers.

Gaffan added, “hang on tight because these numbers are going to escalate.”

Anyone who needs assistance from the county can call 519-326-8629 Ext. 395.

County enters new agreement to provide service for homelessness

By Fred Groves

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