Shelter funding comes as winter, 2nd wave set in
$18M from province will help homeless shelters secure new space, ensure physical distancing
The Ontario government confirmed Monday it's delivering $18 million to sustain and expand social services in Ottawa during the pandemic.
A substantial portion of the money, which is set to last until next April, will go to Ottawa's homeless shelters and other services for homeless and precariously housed people as they hunker down for winter.
"It's crucial," said Deirdre Freiheit, president and CEO of the Shepherds of Good Hope, which runs shelters for men and women in the city. She said as the weather gets colder, the charity will need about double its current space to house its nearly 270 overnight clients while observing safe physical distancing protocols.
Finding that new shelter space has become an urgent need, on top of other added costs such as personal protective equipment, extra cleaning and Plexiglas.
"This kind of support ... is really welcome," said Freiheit, adding the charity has been serving an additional 300 meals a day during the pandemic.
WATCH | The load on Ottawa's shelters:
In April, the city received $13.2 million to help its non-profit, charitable and social services agencies weather the first wave of the pandemic.
Carleton MPP Goldie Ghamari said the $17,866,692 in new funding matches what the city asked for in additional support from the province. Of that, $4 million is expected to go toward new housing, specifically "facility or modular housing for permanent housing for single individuals and families," according to the province.
Some of the money will go toward day programs where people can seek services without packing into a shelter.
- An earlier version of this story said the Shepherds of Good Hope needs to double its space to accommodate 1,100 clients. In fact, the charity provides overnight shelter for nearly 270 clients.Oct 27, 2020 1:59 PM ET