Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 82

Dear Colleagues, 

We are going through the 5th wave of the pandemic with significant increases in cases in the last 4-5 weeks.  We are hopeful that we will see a reduction in cases soon in response to the current Modified Step Two public health measures.. Today the government announced new public health measures for the next few months, starting on 31 January, 21 February and 14 March 2022.   

In November 2021, the Poverty Task Force table discussed strategic plans for 2022. We examine the work we do to ensure we are addressing systemic change issues as well as meeting front line needs.  Our collective impact efforts support upstream interventions to address poverty-related community issues

HOUSING SUPPORTS

  • Indigenous Housing Investment:  The Ontario government announced it is investing $10 million in new annual funding to provide Indigenous-led, culturally appropriate long-term housing solutions and support services to Indigenous people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
  • Homeless Enumeration Reports: Bruce County and Grey County released their respective reports from the point-in-time count.  
    • 142 individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Grey County
    • 64 individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Bruce County
  • In response, both Councils approved a local rule for housing priority to offer 1 in every 10 units to individuals or families from the Grey Bruce ‘By-Name List’. 
  • By-Name List Training: there is still space on Jan 25th, 2022 9AM-Noon,Jan 26th, 2022 9AM-Noon and Jan 28th, 2022 1PM-4PM. Email Caitlin at Caitlin.currie@grey.ca to sign up. 
  • YMCA Emergency Housing: in the first month of January, up to 500 nights of shelter were provided across Grey Bruce. This included coordinating with Safe N Sound to send people from Owen Sound to Hanover, Wiarton and Chatsworth to available hotels/motels.  
  • Home Takeover Project: is moving forward with partners. The next meeting will be on February 14th to develop an evaluation framework.
  • Seniors Home Safety Tax Credit is extended into 2022.  The credit covers renovations to help make seniors’ homes safer and more accessible. Twenty-five percent of up to a maximum of $10,000 per household can be claimed on eligible expenses.
  • Prime Minister’s Mandate Letter: directs the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, to help ensure Canadians can get a home of their own, through work to improve housing affordability and end chronic homelessness, and to champion the full breadth of our country’s vibrant diversity through greater inclusion. Read the details here.  

TRANSPORTATION SUPPORTS

  • Municipal Transit Funding: The Ontario government announced it is providing $375.6 million to help 107 municipalities across the province operate and improve local transit. 
  • The funding is being delivered through the Gas Tax program and can be used to extend service hours, buy transit vehicles, add routes, improve accessibility or upgrade infrastructure. 
  • The Town of Hanover (the lead municipality for Saugeen Mobility and Regional Transit, which serves Arran-Elderslie, Brockton, Chatsworth, Hanover, Huron-Kinloss, Kincardine, Saugeen Shores, Southgate and West Grey) is receiving $769,398, the Municipality of Meaford will receive $65,797 and the City of Owen Sound is receiving $251,642.

INCOME SECURITY SUPPORTS 

  • Guaranteed Livable Basic Income: a private member’s bill (Bill C-223) to develop a national framework for a permanent Guaranteed Livable Basic Income was introduced in December 2021. The Bill is in its second reading. UBI Works and Basic Income Network have Calls to Action to support the Bill. 
  • Canada Student Grants: full-time student, can receive grants up to $6,000 until July 31st, 2023. Students with disabilities can receive up to $10,000. The government has waived interest on federal student loans until March 31st, 2023. They are also being more flexible for repayment
  • Prime Ministers’ Mandate Letter: directs the Minister of Seniors to ensure GIS recipients who received CERB do not experience any negative impact to their GIS eligibility.
  • GIS Clawback: Payment to be made starting in May 2022 to all GIS recipients who lost GIS b/c of CERB. However, it is unclear whether this lump sum payment will be tax free. And whether seniors need to re-apply and complete a new GIS assessment. 
  • Old Age Security: there will be an increase to the Guaranteed Income Supplement by $500 for single seniors and $750 for couples starting at age 65.
  • Prime Ministers’ Mandate Letter: directs the Minister of Finance to work with provinces and territories over the next review cycle to increase the Canada Pension Plan and Quebec Pension Plan survivor’s benefit by 25%. 
  • As well as introduce a one-time income tax deduction for health care professionals who are just starting out in their careers to help with the costs of setting up their practice in a rural community. 
  • And crack down on predatory lenders by lowering the criminal rate of interest. Read more here
  • Four County Labour Market Planning Board has released 2 new reports:

IINDIGENOUS YOUTH SUPPORTS

  • Kinoomaadziwin Education Body: Ontario government announced a renewed 3 year funding for the Kinoomaadziwin Education Body (KEB) $7.9 million agreement to support the achievement and well-being of Anishinabek students. 
  • The agreement will improve access to culturally relevant education supports and services Anishinabek students need to realize academic success and prepare for successful entry into the workforce.

FOOD SECURITY SUPPORTS

  • Prime Ministers’ Mandate Letter: directs the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food to work with the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and with provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous partners and stakeholders to develop a National School Food Policy and to work toward a national school nutritious meal program. Read more here.
  • Food Bruce Grey Year End Data: data collected by the United Way for 2021 represents data from 86% of existing community food programs in Grey Bruce. Some December 2021 data is not included yet the following figures show the food insecurity in Grey Bruce: 
    • Meal Programs: 170,362 meals were served, 24% increase over 2020,  which translates into more than 460 meals each day. 
    • Food Rescue: 68,777 kg of food processed,67% increase over 2020, equivalent to 4,326 bags of groceries. 
    • Food Banks – 170,775kg of food distributed, 27% increase over 2020, equivalent to 10,740** bags of groceries.21,442 clients served – 10% increase over 2020. 
    • Fresh Produce: 18,156 kg worth of fresh produce grown, equivalent to 1,141 bags of groceries. 
    • Volunteer Hours: 36,046 hours provided by volunteers, 60% increase over 2020. Using the rate established by Volunteers.ca, that represents a payroll value of $973,242.   

Stay well, Jill 

Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 75

Dear Colleagues, 

On Monday, October 18, Grey County and Bruce County are working with community partners to conduct a one-day survey for individuals experiencing homelessness. Everyone counts. They want to hear from those who are sleeping on the street, couch surfing, or temporarily housed.

This review will be a point-in-time count that provides a snapshot of the number of people experiencing homelessness in both Counties. The information provided will help both Counties better understand the current scope of homelessness in the area and data will be used to inform future decisions around needed supports and services.

  • Organizations/agencies/community members are asked for their help in directing people to various hub sites where staff and volunteers will be able to meet with individuals experiencing homelessness. 
  • Anyone experiencing homelessness is asked to complete the survey. 
  • Information collected will remain anonymous. 
  • The enumeration will collect demographic information using a set of standard questions.The same survey is being used by both Counties. 
  • All participants will receive a gift card as thanks for supporting the survey. 
  • Volunteers will be available to answer questions and help connect people with available supports.   
  • The survey can also be completed by phone by calling 516-376-5744.
  • For more information about the housing and homelessness survey, please contact josh.gibson@grey.ca or tdickson@brucecounty.on.ca 


Stay well, Jill