Supportive housing will play a critical role in the city's fight to end homelessness.
On Monday, Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, alongside Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford, announced a $4.5 million provincial investment in a new 30-unit Supportive Housing Development for Indigenous people in Kenora.
Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services will develop the infrastructure, and the Kenora District Services Board will provide support through a lease agreement. "We'll actually have a lease agreement with the tenants, so these will be their homes, and they'll be able to move on when they're ready," says Henry Wall, CAO for the KDSB.
He adds every individual needs safe and stable housing, but there's an even more important piece of the puzzle. Wall says, "The housing is really important, but so are the services, and so are the programs, so we need to make sure that the facility is built around to what makes sense for the programs and services."
The KDSB says some components of Supportive Housing include:
- Supporting individuals and families that are at risk of homelessness;
- Affordability, safety, and security;
- A home-like atmosphere, and;
- Access to support services that are case managed around individual needs.
Stats from Kenora District Services Board's Homelessness Enumeration say over 88% of the homeless population in Kenora self-identify as Indigenous. Wall says that the most vulnerable people in the city deal with negative socio-economic conditions that make it difficult to maintain stable housing.
The KDSB also says that Supportive Housing does not do the following:
- House those who are involved in the judicial system;
- Increase crime and criminal activity within the vicinity of the location;
- Decrease property values, and;
- Discriminate against any individual to be eligible for tenancy; however, criteria will be in place to ensure the appropriate individuals will be selected for tenancy.
According to the KDSB, Supportive Housing saves municipalities money on emergency services that would normally be utilized by an individual or family that is homeless by providing them with the life skills and opportunities they need to get back on their feet.
The KDSB and OAHS will be hosting an open house on Thursday, March 21st at the Ukrainian Literary Society Hally at 509 4th Street North to discuss the project and address questions from the public. The open house will be held from 6 to 8PM.