Hiatus House loses beds ahead of anticipated funding cuts

Six beds will have to be removed from Hiatus House in Windsor after assumed funding cuts have the organization making some changes.

Windsor's Hiatus House is only funded for 42 beds

Hiatus House expects to get more information about their budget in the next few weeks. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

Hiatus House in Windsor has removed six beds with anticipated funding cuts from Ontario. 

Executive director Thom Rolfe said Hiatus House still doesn't have their budget from the province. They've been operating with 48 beds, but are only funded for 42. 

"We're not sure what's going to happen," said Rolfe. The organization had closed the six unfunded beds on April 6, 2019.

"We don't have confirmation of our annual budget."

Rolfe said he's also expecting Hiatus House will have to reduce staff once they do get the budget documents — which they usually have by the end of March. 

According to Rolfe, there's no other way to fund those six beds.

"Fundraising is unpredictable," said Rolfe. "The board has gradually reduced its reliance on fundraising dollars."

Executive director Thom Rolfe says Hiatus House still doesn't have their budget from the province, even though they usually get documents by March. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

The Hiatus House board decided three years ago that fundraising dollars would go to capital purchases, like a new property in Leamington, rather than relying on them to operate programs.

Rolfe said the loss of six beds will affect how many women and children the organization can take in.

"It's the hardest thing that we do ... our staff are trained social workers," said Rolfe. "They didn't get into this business to say no to people. They got into this business to help people."

According to Rolfe, there hasn't been a funding increase for about ten years. The previous government had increased the budget by about $111,000 last year, but it wasn't guaranteed the organization would get that increase for the years following.

The Ministry of the Attorney General tells CBC News it isn't proceeding with previous government's announced funding.

Rolfe called Windsor-Essex the most "under-serviced" area in southwestern Ontario, noting that London-Middlesex's Hiatus House has 97 beds.

Hiatus House expects to get more information about their budget in the next few weeks.


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