A Better Tent City supports region’s request to review organization’s outcomes

Debate surrounding a regional councillor’s motion asking A Better Tent City to prove it is worthy of funding has been resolved.

The nature of the request was hotly contested at a Community and Health Services Committee meeting Feb. 6. The motion tabled by Councillor Michael Harris was deferred to allow A Better Tent City the opportunity to respond. It was also amended to to not threaten the organization’s grant.

Chair Jeff Wilmer told Council Wednesday night that the organization has no issue with the motion.

“We have no concern with the spirit of what’s intended here. Certainly if we were to receive public funding we should be accountable and we should be reporting,” said Wilmer. “I would point out that A Better Tent City is different from similar services in this region. We are the shelter and housing option of last resort for people who are hard to house and may have been restricted from other shelters. So our population is not exactly the same as other shelters.”

Wilmer added he believes that makes any comparison between A Better Tent City and other shelters unfair.

“The funding that’s being granted to A Better Tent City … is a small fraction of the funding that is used for the comparable community on Erbs Road. One analysis had [the funding] at about one tenth,” said Wilmer. “While we have high expectations of ourselves to help people, I think we also need to be realistic.”

The support from Wilmer led to council voting in favour of gathering data and outcomes from A Better Tent City, while the organization will continue to receive it’s grant of $236,390 grant. The only opposing vote was from Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic.

As per a request from Councillor Rob Deutschmann, staff will also disclose the exact reports the region is collecting from A Better Tent City.

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