Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 51

Dear Colleagues, 

Our community has come together, to keep it together under this Pandemic. One of the heartbreaking crises continuing to hit our community hard has been the increase of overdoses in the City of Owen Sound and other locations.  This Saturday, March 27th from 9am to 12:30pm the United Way, Safe ‘N Sound and Grey Bruce Public Health will be at the Owen Sound Farmer’s Market to create more awareness and to remember those we have lost. The public is invited to take a carnation, walk the block around the 8th and 9th Street bridges and then drop the flower into the river, to symbolize the loss of those who have died, gone permanently from our community. 

PLANNING AND SYSTEM CHANGE

  • We still have spaces for partners to join the The End of Poverty Summit – a nationwide gathering of poverty reduction organizations/cities hosted by Tamarack from 11am May 5th to 5pm May 6th, 2021. Learn more about the guest speakers and workshops at: https://events.tamarackcommunity.ca/the-end-of-poverty.  Contact Jill Umbach, povertytaskforce@unitedwaybg.com, if you are interested in attending this virtual summit. 
  • Plan the Bruce: Bruce County is looking for input as it begins work on a new Official Plan to guide development and growth for the next 25 years. There are currently input surveys open for Housing and Agriculture. You can also contact planthebruce@brucecounty.on.ca to ask about any project and/or provide input. 
  • The Bruce Grey Ontario Health Team has submitted its full application to the Ministry of Health and is now seeking community council advisors. http://ow.ly/HwkF50E3jJ8 

The Province has released Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy. The 2021 Budget is the next phase of Ontario’s response to COVID-19 and is the second Budget the government has delivered during the pandemic. 

  • The 2021 Budget builds on the government’s record investments in response to the global pandemic, bringing total investments to $16.3 billion to protect people’s health and $23.3 billion to protect our economy. Ontario’s COVID-19 action plan support now totals $51 billion.
  • Some HEALTH SUPPORTS include: 
    • A $175 million initiative will provide mental health and addiction supports including mobile clinics for rural communities. 
    • $2.1 million to support victims of crime and domestic abuse survivors. 
    • $1.6 million to address systemic racism.
    • $1 billion over 2 years for vaccine rollout, including $135 million already spent
    • Reiterates plans for hundreds of millions of dollars to build new long-term care beds and improve ventilation. 
    • $4.9 billion over 4 years for hiring 27,000 nurses and PSWs
    • Budget made no promise to retain the planned increase for front-line long-term care workers past June 2021; under review.  
    • Learn more about Ontario’s plan to protect people’s health.  
  • Some INCOME/EMPLOYMENT SUPPORTS include: 
    • Extending existing grant program, offering $10,000 to $20,000 to about 120,000 affected businesses, for an additional $1.7 billion. 
    • An additional $400 million for tourism industry
    • New Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit for 2021. It would provide up to $2,000 per recipient for 50% of eligible expenses, for a total of an estimated $260 million in support to about 230,000 people in 2021.  
    • 3rd round of Ontario COVID19 Child Benefit with payments being doubled to $400 for children up to Grade 12 and $500 for children and youth under 21 who have special needs. 
    • Proposed 20% top up of CARE tax credit for childcare expenses to help families earning under $150,000. Will cost $75 million and will increase support from $1,250 to $1,500 on average/family
    • Task force to address women’s economic barriers will be created. 
    • $2.8 billion for province-wide reliable broadband services in all regions by 2025, part of an overall $4 billion investment. 
    • Learn more about Ontario’s plan to protect our economy.

INCOME/EMPLOYMENT SUPPORTS 

  • The Federal government has extended COVID19 Benefits to support workers for longer. 
  • Getting Ahead: April 20th is first Getting Ahead for 2021 to be held in Owen Sound. It will be in-person with all the Public Health safety protocols. Individuals on Ontario Works (OW) or ODSP are eligible. People interested should contact their OW or ODSP worker for more info or to register.
  • Ontario Works shall move to a central intake through the Province on April 26th, 2021. A Vision for Social Assistance has been released by the government.

TRANSPORTATION SUPPORTS

  • For people who are without transportation to access COVID19 vaccination clinics they can call the Public Health Unit Helpline at 519-376-9420, ext 3000 or call 211 and ask about transportation services.
    • MOVIN’GB will arrange transportation for individuals to COVID-19 vaccination clinics and waive the 48 hour requirement to schedule a ride (as long as resources are available to supply ride) Call 519-370-0558 or Intake: 519-372-2091. Email schedulers@hcssgreybruce.com 
  • GTR will start to take cash payment on March 29th, 2021. All riders are required to book their seat in advance, riders wishing to pay by Cash must book their ride over the phone at226-910-1001. Fares range from $5.00 to $3.00 (Adults with student/senior rates and children under 5 ride for free. 
  • GTR will be piloting a new Sauble Beach route from Friday to Monday starting in May to September for the tourism season. This will give an opportunity for employees and tourists to access affordable rides. 

HOUSING SUPPORT 

  • Bruce County is experiencing well-recognized and complex housing opportunities and challenges, influencing supply and demand of housing in the region. Give your input and help plan for the supply and mix of homes in Bruce County.  Good planning decisions now can have a positive impact on housing diversity and availability over the next 25 years. There is an Homes: A Guide to Giving Feedback to assist in providing input. 
  • YMCA Housing Stability Workers have been picking up Motel kits from United Way of Bruce Grey. These kits are given to people being provided shelter while they seek out permanent housing. With the rising cost of housing in our area we continue to see high numbers of people seeking assistance. 
  • Motels will be increasing their rates soon for the tourist season and housing services remain busy with trying to find permanent housing solutions. 
  • The Province has announced its new strategy to combat homelessness. The Grey Bruce Homeless Response Table currently has between 45-50 people on the By-Name list with 3 people recently housed. A point-in-time homeless enumeration will be carried out and completed by December 2021. 
  • North Bruce Peninsula has approved the formation of a Municipal Housing Task Force which starts in May 2021. 
  • The Women’s Centre of Bruce Grey will launch its Anti-HumanTrafficking Program on April 5th. Named, “Our Place”, the program is aimed at supporting youth victims and survivors of human trafficking in our community. The program will partner with community agencies to provide wrap-around victim support and will include an educational component for school-aged children that focuses on the signs of human trafficking to youth under 16 years of age.

Stay well, Jill