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City of Barrie passes motion to tackle panhandling and support to homeless community

Barrie city councillors intend to deter panhandling as part of a motion passed at Wednesday evening's general meeting, which emphasized the City's ongoing commitment to address the needs of its homeless population.

Councillors gave the thumbs up to crack down on panhandling on city streets, intersections, and highway ramps with signs to discourage panhandlers and those offering financial support.

In a statement, the Barrie Chamber of Commerce added its support following Wednesday night's council meeting.

Barrie Chamber of Commerce executive director Paul Markle highlighted "aggressive panhandling" as a "major concern' in the city.

"Education on why panhandling hurts and does not improve the situation in the long term is needed to discourage residents and visitors from contributing in this way," Markle added, suggesting residents be encouraged to donate to agencies within the city to assist the vulnerable population instead.


The motion passed encompasses various initiatives to support the homeless community, including funding for food programs at the Salvation Army, increasing access to a full-time warming center during winter and a cooling center throughout summer, and requesting additional resources from the provincial government to enhance a rapid access addiction medicine clinic.

Also included in the motion is the potential implementation of a mobile outreach program, enabling the city to extend its assistance to homeless individuals who may not have access to traditional support services.

Markle stated the Chamber shares council's "desire to address homelessness and ensure people get the supports and services they need."

"In particular, the Chamber would like to see more emphasis on rehabilitation and counselling for Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) Clinic from the Province of Ontario for more beds and hours of operation or the funding of similar organization that provides long-term counselling and treatment. We believe this will have a noticeable and positive impact in our community," Markle added.

In January 2022, the homeless enumeration done in Simcoe County found 722 people were experiencing homelessness, with at least half in Barrie.

The City intends to reassess the plans in the coming weeks, allowing council members to further discuss and refine the proposed initiatives. Top Stories

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