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$40K per Homeless Person Hotel Relocation for 1 Month?

A one-time allocation of approximately $633,318, aimed at assisting the unsheltered homeless population, successfully facilitated temporary housing for 16 individuals.

A report from the social services committee details the utilization of the Winter 2023-24 Unsheltered Homelessness Response Funding by the County of Wellington. This funding, amounting to $633,318 and provided by the federal government in late 2023, was earmarked for use by the end of April.

As of February 22, the report highlights that 16 community members, who were previously facing chronic homelessness and living without shelter, have been relocated to new temporary accommodations.

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According to the report, staff devised a comprehensive investment plan for the funds, which included enlarging temporary shelter capacities, offering storage for personal items for up to three months, providing transportation, distributing essential supplies, facilitating rent assistance, and augmenting service accessibility.

The report underscores that the bulk of the funding was allocated towards increasing temporary shelter spaces, emphasizing the urgency to support as many individuals as possible in escaping the winter cold.

With the initiative successfully housing 16 individuals at a cost of approximately $39,582.38 per person for one month, the expenditure raises questions about the broader efficacy and financial stewardship of the program. This cost per individual, while reflective of the program’s comprehensive support approach, suggests a high investment for a relatively small direct impact. It’s essential to consider whether the scale of investment aligns with the best possible outcomes for the largest number of beneficiaries.

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The critical question isn’t about the necessity of supporting the unsheltered; rather, it’s about achieving a balance that maximizes both the depth and breadth of impact. The initiative’s comprehensive nature—covering everything from temporary housing to transportation and supplies—is undoubtedly a strength, providing a holistic approach to addressing homelessness. However, exploring the potential for scaling and extending services requires a critical eye towards cost efficiency and the potential for broader impacts.

With the funding set to expire in April, the report acknowledges ongoing efforts by staff to collaborate with community partners in exploring additional housing solutions within the system.

This report is scheduled for discussion at the social services committee meeting on Wednesday afternoon in Guelph.

A detailed financial summary and comprehensive data on the allocation and impact of the funding are anticipated in June 2024.

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