While 2021 appears to have started on a very bumpy road, there are a few things to celebrate about the New Year.
Grey County council has supported in principle a plan to increase the county’s tax levy and dedicate those funds to increasing affordable housing. The Committee of the Whole also approved a task force recommendation to create a fund that would be used to help finance affordable housing builds, purchase surplus land to support new builds and provide rental supplements.
Tamarack has released a new 10 Guide: A Guide for Community-Based COVID-19 Recovery. It provides community leaders with good ideas, inspiring stories and useful resources to rebuild more prosperous and peaceful communities.
While it may feel like we are in a perpetual Groundhog Day, this year’s Wiarton Willie prediction will be virtual – like so many things this year.
- Singles in poverty: when it comes to social assistance across Canada, employable single adults without dependents are a very neglected subgroup. Increasing their benefit levels would likely result in less poverty, improved food security and less homelessness. Read more.
- Bruce County Public Library: plans to hold a drop-off CVITP clinic at Walkerton Branch Library starting March 22, 2021. With a drop-off clinic, clients will not be meeting face-to-face with the volunteers. This is subject to change depending on Provincial guidelines at the time the clinic is scheduled to begin.
- CERB Tax Slips – Canadians will start to receive tax slips (T4A) from the Canada Revenue Agency for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and recovery benefits.
- The income tax portion of CERB was not taken off so this portion will be considered when completing tax returns.
- Call 211 to find your closest Community Volunteer Income-Tax Program (CVITP) clinic. If your organization is running a CVITP, make sure to update your information with 211.
- Emergency Child Care Program: In response to the Province’s emergency child care program for essential, frontline workers, Grey County will be providing emergency care at East Ridge school in Owen Sound and Hanover Heights school in Hanover. For more information, visit Grey County’s website here: https://www.grey.ca/news/targeted-emergency-child-care
- Until further notice, you will not need to renew these products, even if they have expired: health cards, driver’s licences, licence plate stickers. accessible parking permits, Ontario Photo Cards, Commercial Vehicle Operator Registration certificates. More info: ServiceOntario.ca/Services
- Grey Bruce Elder Abuse Prevention (GBEAP) – a subcommittee of Violence Prevention Grey Bruce has launched a new education campaign about Elder Abuse and resources in Grey Bruce. GBEAP reports that calls to the provincial Seniors Safety Line have risen 300% during the pandemic.
- Support for Seniors and People with Disabilities during Provincewide Shutdown – List of Ontario programs:
- Ontario Community Support Program – helps provide deliveries of food, medicine, and other essentials to low-income seniors and people with disabilities in need. You can request a delivery by visiting the COVID-19 Community Support Finder, dialing 211 or calling toll free: 1-877-330-3213/ TTY: 1-888-340-1001.
- 211 Ontario, which also helps connect seniors and people with disabilities to a range of other social and community services. Help is available over the phone or online through email or live chat.
- Seniors can contact their local Seniors Active Living Centre to learn more about local social, cultural or educational programs that may be offered virtually or by telephone.
- The Seniors Safety Line, a 24-hour crisis and support line for seniors in Ontario who have experienced any type of abuse or neglect, which offers callers emotional support, safety planning, information and referrals in over 200 languages.
- ConnectABILITY.ca, a website and virtual community that offers information and resources to support individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.
- YMCA Housing provided 604 nights of shelter in Dec 2020. By January 14th, 400 nights of shelter were provided to 80 people. They are starting to see a lot of families and seniors. The Meals to Motels has doubled since December. Two new motels in Wiarton have been added as shelters.
- Most housing service staff remain in offices or centres – YMCA Housing, Women’s House Serving Grey Bruce, Women’s Centre Grey Bruce, Safe N Sound, H.O.W. Grey Bruce (854) and United Way of Bruce Grey – to provide in-person or curbside service as essential services.
- Victim Services Bruce Grey Perth is continuing to provide help through alternative methods of communication. If you are in need of assistance please contact their 24-hour contact line at 1-866-376-9852.
- Paused Residential Evictions – Ontario government issued an emergency order to temporarily pause the enforcement of residential evictions and ensure people are not forced to leave their homes during the provincial declaration of emergency and while the stay-at-home-order is in force.
- Pro Bono Ontario offers a free legal advice hotline at 1-855-255-7256 but we recommend that people contact our local Legal Clinic first.
- Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO) reports that tenants are seeing an increase in evictions and challenges with accessing online Tenant-Landlord Tribunal. Tribunals Ontario is pursuing “a digital-first strategy”. Anecdotally, local housing support services in Grey Bruce are not seeing significant numbers of physical evictions. Wait times for tribunal hearings were significantly delayed pre-COVID19 and continue to be further delayed.
- A new study conducted by the Lawson Research Institute and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) revealed that individuals recently homeless were over 20 times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19, over 10 times more likely to receive intensive care, and they were over 5 times more likely to die within 21 days of a positive test.
- Good to Go is a new guided meal program bringing local foods to you in meal kits. We are hoping to launch in February, and you can reach out to Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to sign up.
- Since mid-January 2020, 126,970 meals have been delivered by 11 community meal programs. All community meal programs and food banks continue to operate with curbside service during the lockdown. We have seen a few reduce numbers of volunteers working together but service to the community continues to keep up services in January.
Stay well, Jill