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27% increase in homelessness prompts committee to call for more support for mental health and addictions

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SELECT wp_posts.*, MATCH (wp_posts.post_title,wp_posts.post_content) AGAINST ('27% increase homelessness prompts committee call more support mental health and addictions Breadcrumb Trail Links Local news Author article: Brian cross Publication date: Dec 01, 2021 • 21 minutes ago • 4 minute read • Join conversation Tents and personal belongings fill front yard recently condemned River Place Sandwich Town Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, evicted tenants struggle find a place live. Photo Dax Melmer /Windsor Star Article content Homelessness has risen 27 percent past three years, according results a one-off survey whose troubling results prompted a city committee Wednesday ask province and&hellip;') as score FROM wp_posts WHERE 1=1 AND ( wp_posts.post_date <= '2022-01-16 09:44:34' ) AND wp_posts.ID NOT IN (618102) AND wp_posts.post_type IN ('post', 'page') AND ((wp_posts.post_status = 'publish' OR wp_posts.post_status = 'inherit')) AND MATCH (wp_posts.post_title,wp_posts.post_content) AGAINST ('27% increase homelessness prompts committee call more support mental health and addictions Breadcrumb Trail Links Local news Author article: Brian cross Publication date: Dec 01, 2021 • 21 minutes ago • 4 minute read • Join conversation Tents and personal belongings fill front yard recently condemned River Place Sandwich Town Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, evicted tenants struggle find a place live. Photo Dax Melmer /Windsor Star Article content Homelessness has risen 27 percent past three years, according results a one-off survey whose troubling results prompted a city committee Wednesday ask province and&hellip;') ORDER BY score DESC LIMIT 0, 6

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Homelessness has risen 27 percent in the past three years, according to the results of a one-off survey whose troubling results prompted a city committee on Wednesday to ask the province and the feds to “wake up and see this. So it is”.

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What it is, city councilors said Wednesday, is a national crisis arising from a lack of adequate support for housing, mental health and addictions.

“Until we actually flow the right levels of money for mental health and addictions into this community, this problem will continue forever,” Ward 3 Coun. Rino Bortolin said during a meeting of the Standing Committee on Parks and Community Services while discussing the 2021 report at one point.

It is not that we need money for a different program, what we need is more money

On any given night, he says, 251 are homeless in Windsor-Essex, a 27 percent increase since the survey was last conducted in 2018 and a 25 percent increase since 2016. The report also notes that the The city’s checking account of the homeless, named Priority List by Name, showed that 476 people had experienced homelessness in the 90 days the just-in-time survey was conducted in March. The report acknowledges that the priority list of 476 homeless people is a better reflection of the real number because it provides more opportunities to find them and takes into account the “hidden homeless people” who are surfing on the couch in their friends’ apartments. , or going in and out. from hospital or jails.

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A man sleeps in a park near the Plaza del Ayuntamiento on Thursday, March 11, 2021.
A man sleeps in a park near the Plaza del Ayuntamiento on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

Bortolin, whose neighborhood includes downtown, which is Ground Zero for the homeless, said that when he first ran for council in 2014, these issues did not exist. But since then there has been an explosion of problems related to mental health and addiction, followed by shortages and rising costs of housing. The report says that two-thirds of single adults and youth surveyed reported mental health problems and two-thirds of single adults reported substance use problems.

56 percent of those surveyed reported having been treated in the hospital emergency in the past six months, and 32 percent reported being in the hospital at least once. The average hospital stay costs taxpayers $ 5,642, which translates to a cost of $ 524,706 over six months, according to the report. It also says that 42 percent had interactions with the police and 20 percent went to jail in the past six months.

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“We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars, in health care costs to react to these problems,” Bortolin said. “We spend millions, if not tens of millions, responding like a police problem. All of these things fall on the shoulders of this community and we don’t really deal with the problem adequately. “

He said that when health care delivery is threatened, such as when provincial officials wanted to move chest cancer surgery to London several years ago, the community reacts with vehement protests. However, when there is a months-long wait for addiction treatment, the battle cry is absent.

“Those are provincial problems, health problems, health ministry problems, and the money must flow from that level of government.”

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People rest on the first floor of the former main branch of the Windsor Public Library on Ouellette Avenue, which was used as a temporary shelter for the homeless in February.
People rest on the first floor of the former main branch of the Windsor Public Library on Ouellette Avenue, which was used as a temporary shelter for the homeless in February. Photo by Nick Bracaccio /Windsor Star

Ward 6 Coun. Jo-Anne Gignac said the report details how many homeless people need very intensive support.

“I mean, what does that tell us? These are people with major mental health problems, and these are health problems. We need funding and health support for this. “

The committee’s motion, which still needs council backing, calls on the province and federals to recognize homelessness as a national and provincial crisis and to recognize that lack of money for addiction and mental health programs is one of the main causes.

Chronic homelessness, defined as homelessness for at least six of the past 12 months, is also increasing: from 50 percent of single men in 2018 to 75 percent in 2021. 26 percent of men Singles said that ‘I have been homeless every month for the last three years and on average it has been 26 months since single adults have had a permanent home.

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Windsor Health and Human Services Commissioner Jelena Payne told the committee that temporary funding from the feds and the province really helped support programs for the homeless during the pandemic. But now that money is running out.

Meanwhile, there are more and more evictions and the point survey shows that homelessness is on the rise, he said.

“It is not that we need money for a different program, what we need is more money.”

The survey also counters claims that the rise in numbers locally is due to people from other areas moving here for better services. Half of the people said they had lived here for 20 years or more. Nine percent said they had been here for less than a year.

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“Usually we find that there isn’t one person currently in a shelter in Hamilton or Ottawa packing up and saying ‘I’m going to stay in the shelter system in Windsor,’” Payne said. What often happens is that people come here for a program, are incarcerated in the Southwest Detention Center, or move here to stay with their family. Then there is a family breakdown and the person is homeless.

The report also shows a very high level of homelessness among indigenous peoples. Twenty-two percent identified as indigenous, while indigenous people represent only 1.4 percent of the local population, according to the report.

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