Region facing $6.6M shortfall for homelessness program, says report

By Mark Pare

A precarious situation that's reaching another pivotal point.

Regional council is set to discuss a couple reports on Tuesday regarding homelessness, one is about looking at ending unsheltered homelessness, while the other is an eye-opener when it comes to the emergency shelter system.

It states with temporary pandemic funding ending at the end of March 2022, the preliminary budget for the homelessness program is facing a $6.6-million shortfall.

It comes as the number of people facing chronic homelessness in Waterloo Region is up 44 per cent since the start of the pandemic (as of July 2021).

In that same time, the region has acted and helped 476 people into permanent affordable and supportive homes, 222 of whom experienced chronic homelessness.

However, it's a problem that's not going away.

A report states those facing homelessness are doing so for a longer stretch of time and are dealing with more complex needs.

There's also capacity pressures not going away, considering the number of emergency shelters have nearly doubled during the pandemic, including the use of motels and churches.

The emergency shelter system supported over 1,200 people between January and September 2021.

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