City of Brantford Councillors backed a motion calling for a look into enhanced emergency shelter services for the unhoused population during a Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday, April 18, 2023.
Mandy Samwell, Ward 5 Councillor, brought the motion forward and called for a deeper look into the City’s emergency shelter system and how staff can make enhancements and ensure accountability measures.
“As we all know, it’s important to take care of those seeking shelter and the surrounding neighbourhoods,” she said. “So, looking at enhancements of our shelter systems I’m sure is a priority for all of us as Councillors.”
The motion noted that the City provides funding to community agencies for the delivery of emergency shelter services and that they are an important point of connection for individuals that are experiencing mental health, addiction and homelessness.
Staff will conduct a jurisdictional scan (looking at other surrounding cities) of service models where emergency shelters are located and it will also explore the feasibility of additional services such as: warming and cooling centres, public washrooms, medical support and peer support as they all increase positive outcomes for both clients and neighbourhoods.
Staff will be providing a report to the Social Services Committee prior to the end of the second quarter of 2023 (June) and will outline recommendations regarding additional supports delivered through emergency shelters as well as the funding and the process of implementing these supports and services.
Councillor Dan McCreary said he was happy to support the motion and asked Aaron Wallace, the acting General Manager of Community Services and Social Development, if staff will be able to complete the report by the end of the second quarter. Wallace assured McCreary that there would be no issues regarding the deadline.
Many councillors were happy to back the motion and agreed that they should be looking into more ways they can provide better support.
“We’re hearing these concerns from neighbours, and the idea of how we can support clients and neighbourhoods really is an important part of this process,” said Councillor Richard Carpenter. “I know ward five has a lot of this issue, ward four as well. I don’t think there’s a ward in the city that doesn’t.”
“I am very happy to support this on behalf of Councillor Samwell because I think the situations that present themselves are real and aren’t going to go away,” said Councillor Gino Caputo. “I think we need to really look at opportunities in areas that are going to look after people as situations present themselves as mental illness and homelessness isn’t a crime but needs assistance.”