The Ontario government is providing $1,398,554 to help the District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board, bringing the total funding received to $4,195,370. Funding helps the Sault’s DSSAB respond to an increase in COVID-19 cases in some emergency shelters and to help keep vulnerable people safe. The new funding will protect homeless shelter staff and residents and help prevent more people from becoming homeless.
“This is great news for our community. I’m excited to see our government funding social services in our community to help us in our fight against COVID-19 and ensuring that we protect our City’s vulnerable populations,” said Ross Romano, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie. “The work that’s being done on the frontlines in our homeless shelters to stop the spread of the virus and ensure residents have been safe has been phenomenal. This funding will also be helpful to prevent an increase in homelessness in the Sault.”
Today’s announcement is part of the province’s additional $255 million investment through the Social Services Relief Fund. Provincial service managers and Indigenous program partners can use the funding to acquire motel and hotel spaces to support physical distancing of shelter residents, hire more shelter staff, purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies, and add to rent and utility banks to prevent more people from becoming homeless.
“Our government is once again taking immediate action to save lives by responding to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in some emergency shelters across the province,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This investment will ensure our municipal service managers can keep vulnerable people and shelter workers safe by providing them with the financial ability to take any means necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19 in shelter spaces.”
“Social Services is extremely grateful to receive SSRF Round Three funding,” said Luke Dufour, Board Chair of District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board. “The effects and impacts of COVID-19 on homelessness, mental health & addiction have been unprecedented and the funding provided will ensure that we are able to continue to support marginalized people within the community during this challenging time.”
“Social Services of Sault Ste. Marie provides vital support to people who need it most, and their efforts are important to the health and vitality of our community, particularly during a pandemic that has more adversely impacted those affected by social and economic inequalities,” said Christian Provenzano, Mayor of Sault Ste. Marie. “I want to recognize the Government of Ontario for providing additional support for Social Services of Sault Ste. Marie.”
Under the Social Services Relief Fund, Ontario has provided $765 million to help service managers and Indigenous program partners support shelters, create longer-term housing solutions and help vulnerable Ontarians affected by COVID-19, including those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.