London, Ont. Homelessness plan to go before councilors 28 February – London Pipa News

London, Ont. Homelessness plan to go before councilors 28 February – London

An upcoming plan that aims to tackle homelessness in London, Ontario, will make its much-anticipated City Hall debut at the end of next month.

The plan was first teased by Mayor Josh Morgan during his first State of the City address. He said it would create a “permanent and sustainable system” to help people experiencing homelessness.

Also tied to last week’s State of the City address was news of a $25 million donation from an unnamed local family in support of the plan. The family has offered an additional $5 million if community donations can reach that amount.

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A draft version of the plan was finalized during a meeting on Wednesday of the Health and Homelessness Summit.

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The summit is attended by over 200 people from over 60 organizations from different sectors of the city and held its third meeting on Wednesday.

Jessica Manzara, a care facilitator at the London Intercommunity Health Center (LIHC), said she left the meeting feeling “quite hopeful”.

“Part of the conversation today was putting our patients at the center of this work and really focusing on a barrier-free, loophole-free responsive system. I believe we’ve seen a draft (plan) that includes our The members of the community have the affordability,” Manjara said.

In a presentation to the summit on Wednesday, Manzara shared her experience as someone working on the front lines of London’s homelessness crisis.

“My intention was to highlight the struggle and the beautiful work that happens at the front-line level, which can often be missed in some ways at times,” Manzara said. the resources they need.

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According to City Manager Lynn Livingstone, city staff will present the plan to city councilors on February 28, when the group of politicians meets as the Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee.

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It will be the first time councilors will oversee the plan, as they, along with politicians at all levels, were told not to attend summit meetings.

Livingstone says the request was made to foster an environment where summit members could have “very honest conversations about what we need to do”.

After receiving council approval on February 28, Livingstone says staff will then look to further support from the provincial and federal governments.

“Some of the things that we need additional resources to support are under the jurisdiction of the province or the federal government, so once we come before council, we will put ourselves before the province and the federal government for some discussion. ,” Livingstone said.

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Meanwhile, thousands of dollars have already been donated to the Health and Homelessness Fund for Change, a fund managed by the London Community Foundation, which looks to tackle the $5 million challenge issued by the anonymous family.

Marcus Plowright, a lead volunteer in the initiative, said, “We are very pleased to note that just days after announcing the fund and doing no public relations and no communication, over 100 citizens came forward and donated.”

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“We also had some lovely messages that came with the donation – from a 13-year-old who had a birthday party a week after the mayor’s announcement and begged his friends for funds.”

Following the unveiling of the scheme, Plowright says Londoners can expect to see “a huge communications strategy” aimed at getting the fund the talk of the town.

“Over the course of the next few months, we will see that momentum pick up, we will have a list of our priorities out of the summit, and we will begin to ensure that we use our vast resources from the Fund to take things forward. Do it. Very, very quickly to make a difference in the community,” Plowright said.

“More importantly, drive lasting change and permanent housing for those in need.”

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While the upcoming scheme and ongoing donations have inspired optimism, LIHC front-line worker Manzara says it is vital Londoners remember what is at stake for those experiencing homelessness.

“There have already been too many deaths this year, we are in a crisis situation and there are people on our streets right now who are struggling, who are sick and who need action today,” Manjara said.

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“It’s so important that we stay focused.”

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