More action needed on homelessness

Staff

The Apostolic Way Church is providing temporary relief to those without a warm place to rest their head through long winter nights.

But the Rainy River District Social Service Administrative Board (DSSAB)–who funds the church’s warming centre with the Homelessness Committee-is wanting to do more to address homelessness in the community.

About 80 percent of the people accessing the warming centre are First Nations citizens, many of whom have barriers to employment, maintaining residency, mental health issues, addiction problems, or cognitive disabilities, DSSAB CAO Dan McCormick noted.

“We need to be able to treat that, we can’t just give them a shelter in the winter and say ‘okay in the summer go out and find a tent on the Point Park’ or something like that,” he remarked at the Rainy River District Municipal Association (RRDMA) AGM in late January.

The DSSAB is currently looking at a property that could provide transitional and safe beds in the community.

Safe beds are good for stays of up to about 30 days, while transition beds can be used for up to two years.

McCormick said the DSSAB also needs to find a way to move forward and create more supported housing where people can move through the system with continued supports.