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County plans new emergency shelter system for Northumberland

Posted on Tuesday January 16, 2018

Cobourg, ON – January 16, 2018 – Northumberland County is moving forward with plans to implement a new emergency shelter system for the community that will best support ongoing work with partner agencies to deliver a coordinated response to homelessness, locally.

“Northumberland County will be requesting proposals from service providers for the delivery of innovative shelter services for our community,” stated Director of Community & Social Services Lisa Horne. “This updated shelter system will incorporate best practices for homelessness diversion, and be based on the ‘Housing First’ model that now underpins all local inter-agency collaboration to address homelessness. Emphasis will be placed on helping people experiencing chronic homelessness to secure safe, affordable and stable housing as quickly as possible.”

The premise of the ‘Housing First’ model is that people can only focus on other elements of self-sustainability, such as employment, appropriate medical attention, and family management, once they have a stable home from which to build. This model is at the root of the provincial housing policy, and is the foundation for the County’s Housing and Homelessness Plan.

As Consolidated Municipal Services Manager for social services in Northumberland, the County has been reviewing the local shelter system over the last year with the aim of bringing it into alignment with this model and with best practices for shelter operations. With notification from Transition House shelter in December of a temporary closure, the County has expedited plans to modernize the system in order to both return the system to full capacity and enhance this capacity.

“Emergency shelters provide a critical landing place for people in our community who are experiencing a housing crisis,” indicated County Warden Mark Lovshin. “Modernizing our emergency shelter system is another important step in delivering on our community’s commitment to achieve meaningful outcomes for individuals and families across the entire spectrum of homelessness.”

The County anticipates releasing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for shelter services by February 2018.

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