Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 40

Dear Colleagues, 

Well, we knew it was bound to happen but we were not sure that it would impact us here in Grey County and Bruce County.  But the Ontario government has announced a lockdown from December 26th, 2020 to January 21st, 2021 for all of Ontario.

While we have shared out with everyone some emergency housing and Christmas assistance (community meals, food bank and toys) programs in last week’s update, we are now including lockdown updates for social programs starting December 26th, 2020.  

Please call 211 or search http://informationbrucegrey.ca/ for the latest updates. We shall also endeavour to update our Poverty Task Force COVID19 Resource Page. 

Thank you to everyone who has spread so much Christmas cheer at this time of the year!  And who have been working for so many months. Deep breaths. We can keep going and serving our community!  #togetherwearestrong #greybrucestrong  

INCOME SUPPORTS 

  • Bruce County Human Services: Bruce County offices are closed from 12noon on Dec 24th – Jan 4th.  Staff are available for emergencies from Dec 29th – 31st (1-800-265-3002). As per the Provincial Shutdown their offices will be open by essential appointment only until Jan 24th.
  • Grey County Social Services: Grey County offices are closed from  12noon on Dec 24th through to Jan 4th. Ontario Works and Children’s Services will take emergency calls from Dec 29th – 31st (519-376-7112, press 2). And Housing Services at: 
  • Grey Bruce Schools: are closed for holidays and returning to online schooling on January 4th, 2021. Elementary school students are planned to be able to return to in-person learning on January 11, 2021. Secondary school students will continue learning remotely until January 25, 2021, at which point they may resume in-person learning.  
  • In January 2021, students aged 13 through Grade 12 will be eligible for funding under an expanded Support for Learners program. Parents or guardians will receive a one-time payment of $200 per eligible student to help offset education expenses. Support will be available for those who attend a public or private school or who are homeschooled.  
  • Application instructions will be available on the Support for Learners web page starting in January 2021.  Secondary school student applications will be open from January 11, 2021 to February 8, 2021. 
  • Support for Learners for children/youth aged 0 to 12 and for children/youth aged 0 to 21 with special needs is currently open and the application deadline has been extended to February 8, 2021.
  • Childcare programs will remain open. Before and after school programs are not allowed to operate from January 4-8, and may not charge fees or penalize families during this time. Emergency childcare will be provided for some essential workers.
  • COVID 19 Energy Assistance: The government announced it will hold electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 8.5 cents per kilowatt-hour for all time-of-use and tiered customers on a temporary basis starting January 1, 2021. 
  • This low rate will be available 24 hours per day, seven days a week for a 28-day period. The off-peak price will automatically be applied to bills of all residential, small business, and farm customers who pay regulated rates.  
  • COVID 19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) Any residential, small business, or registered charity customer with an overdue electricity or natural gas bill will now be eligible to apply to CEAP. 
  • A residential customer can receive up to $750 to help cover their electricity bill and an additional $750 for their natural gas bill. 
  • Small businesses can receive up to $1500 for each. Newly eligible customers can apply for these enhanced benefits through their local utility, starting in January 2021.  
  • Mobility for Good For Seniors: TELUS has launched a new program for seniors who receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and can provide an Old Age Security Statement. 
  • They are eligible for: A free smartphone and a $25/month plan that includes unlimited nationwide talk/text and 3GB of data. This offer is contract-free. Seniors who take advantage of the offer can cancel at any time without incurring additional fees. 

FOOD SUPPORTS 

  • Christmas Assistance and Dinners that are currently listed on 211 are divided by County. Christmas Assistance and Dinners in Grey and Christmas Assistance and Dinners in Bruce
  • The Salvation Army food truck will be providing Christmas meals from the OSHaRE parking lot in Owen Sound from 11:30-1pm on Dec 25th. 
  • OSHaRE was preparing 100-120 meals a day. Recent grants have allowed them to purchase new equipment and enough pots, pans and supplies to cook 300-350 meals a day.  This has made things easier on their staff and volunteers; as well as expanding their ability to support programs outside of Owen Sound.   
  • Curbside services: under lockdown, many food services will be moving back to curbside services.  We are in the midst of updating our lists but the following contact information will remain the same:  
  • Grocery Stores in Grey Bruce (April 2020)
  • Pet Resources Grey Bruce (April 2020)
  • Tamarack Institute blogged about the work of Grey Bruce community meals and food banks collective work and the data collected.  

HOUSING SUPPORTS

  • Safe N Sound will remain open as a drop-in centre during the lockdown.  They will be open from 9am-3pm and 5pm-9pm, M-F. 
  • CMHA Community Connections and H.O.W. GB are both open in Owen Sound and across Bruce and Grey.  Outreach, Residential and Group services will continue to operate status quo. The hours at both sites are 8:30am-4:30pm.
  • YMCA Community Initiatives – Emergency Shelter remains open. Please contact 211 (24 hrs/7 days/week) and/or 519-371-9230 x 5 to reach a YMCA Housing Stability Worker, M-F, 8:3am-4:30pm.
  • Grey Bruce Public Health: harm reduction services are running except for Dec 25th, Jan 1st. 
  • CMHA Mental Health & Addictions Outreach Supports: services can be accessed through CMHA Grey Bruce at 519-371-2390, M-F, 8:30am-4:30pm.  Please call the emergency mental health crisis line at: 1-877-470-5200. 
  • Hope for Wellness Indigenous Hotline: for traditional health during crisis contact: 1-855-242-3310. 
  • Housing Support List (August 2020)

ORGANIZATION SUPPORT 

  • The Community Foundation Grey Bruce and the United Way Bruce Grey awarded their second round of Emergency Community Support Fund to local programs.   
  • The Ontario government announced today it is providing nearly $41 million to help 486 non-profit organizations across the province to rebuild and recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. These grants are part of the first round of funding through the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Resilient Communities Fundwhich closed for applications on December 9th, 2020. 

Stay well, Jill