Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay social services board receives millions for mental health, addictions and for homeless shelters

A slew of municipal affairs and housing funding announcements this week is resulting in millions of dollars flowing through the Thunder Bay District Social Services Administrative Board to address a range of issues in the district.

Funding will help pay for rent arrears, isolation shelter, technology access and for the Care Bus pilot

More than $2.4 million was announced this week to support homeless shelters in the Thunder Bay district through Ontario's social services relief fund. (Amy Hadley/CBC)

A slew of municipal affairs and housing funding announcements this week is resulting in millions of dollars flowing through the Thunder Bay District Social Services Administrative Board to address a range of issues in the district.

Of that money, more than $1 million has been allocated to providing additional supports for mental health and addictions programming in the city. That money came from a provincial announcement of $10 million to build a more connected mental health and addictions system in Ontario, first made in December 2020.

Social services board chief administrative officer Bill Bradica says the fact that 10 per cent of this province-wide program is coming to the Thunder Bay district is "a recognition of the need that exists here."

The money will fund a number of organizations and programs, including:

  • Dilico Anishinabek Family Care is receiving $200,000 to provide land-based teaching program supplies and other supplies.
  • Norwest Community Health Centre is being funded nearly $200,000 to implement the new pilot project Care Bus staffed with peer workers and community health nurses and to implement a "Life Guard App" that could reduce opioid-related overdoses.
  • Thunder Bay District Social Services Administrative Board, itself is getting almost $300,000 to provide another 100 cell phones and packages to connect vulnerable people with health services, to help cover medications for mental health and addictions as part of the pharmacy support program, as well as a number of other programs.
  • Matawa First Nations is receiving $126,000 to help with a range of housing, mental health, addictions and emergency supports.
  • Geraldton District Hospital is getting about $80,000 "to support interaction and engagement with individuals in crisis and diversion from the hospital."

Bradica added, "a lot of good work has been done not only by our team, but by the community partners who've received the funding and used it very well to assist vulnerable people throughout the district of Thunder Bay."

In addition to the mental health and addictions funding, the district social services board is receiving more than $2.4 million through Ontario's social services relief fund — a funding bank specifically to support vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Bradica says this is on top of $4.8 million previously provided under this funding.

He said the fund has helped offset more than $300,000 in rent arrears and provided assistance to non-profit housing corporations that have exceeded their budgets because of additional cleaning.

More than $800,000 has also been spent on the isolation spaces at hotels in the Thunder Bay district since April 2020. Most of that funding has come from this relief fund.

Bradica added that an average of more than 90 rooms have been used per night in the past week, but the social services board has the capacity to double that or more if additional isolation spaces are needed.
 

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