KDSB conducting homelessness survey
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
The Kenora District Services Board (KDSB) is hoping to better understand homelessness and they’re working on coming up with a plan to better combat homelessness in the communities they serve.
The Ministry of Housing is funding the KDSB to conduct its first ever count of the homeless population.
Chief Administrative Officer Henry Wall said they’ve been planning it for a while because they feel the region has a significant crisis.
Wall said that they will be speaking with people who are already on the street and people who are at risk of homelessness. He pointed out that there’s also what’s called “hidden homelessness”.
“Across the region there are cases where you have multiple families living in one home and people couch surfing, which is called hidden homelessness. It’s homelessness that we can’t see, but it’s out there,” Wall explained.
Wall said they know there’s existing services in communities across the region, but there are still gaps.
“In Sioux Lookout, places like the Out of the Cold shelter is doing all it can. Two years we ago, we looked at the previous six years and we found that annually between 436 and 543 different people would stay at the Out of the Cold Shelter.”
Wall said that one of the main goals is to have a new emergency centre in Sioux Lookout with better hours and more services.
“We’re working on developing a new emergency centre that would be open around the clock. We also want it working with major and existing community services and we want it properly supported during the day too.”
After starting the homelessness survey in Pickle Lake and Ignace, their team is wrapping up the count this month in Dryden. The team will be meeting with communities to share what they learned from the count after all of the data is collected.