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Hundreds pack into Barrie City Hall for public meeting to address chronic homelessness

In a bid to address the issue of chronic homelessness, addiction and mental health struggles plaguing the City of Barrie, council held a public meeting Tuesday that brought out hundreds of people, including community groups and organizations, seeking to weigh in on proposed plans and solutions.

"I'm just hoping that they understand the current state first before they start to propose new solutions," said Dr. Valerie Grdisa, chief executive officer at the Canadian Mental Health Association, Simcoe County Branch, before the meeting on Tuesday.

The core of the meeting revolved around the City's multifaceted plan to address chronic homelessness.

Mayor Alex Nuttall emphasized the importance of a comprehensive approach to tackling homelessness and its associated challenges.

"The reality is we need to try as many different things as possible to meet the need of individuals who are hurting and, at the same time, have a safe and secure city. So, I don't think there's any one answer. I think it's going to take many, many people working together," Nuttall said.

The proposals included:

Funding for a Permanent Cooling and Warming Centre
Recognizing the need for shelter and safety during extreme weather conditions, the City aims to establish a permanent facility to provide respite to those in need.

Request for Additional Provincial Funding
The City seeks to request financial support from the provincial government to bolster counselling services for individuals grappling with addiction and mental health issues.

Family Reunification Fund
The proposal includes creating a fund to reunite homeless individuals with their families, emphasizing the importance of social connections and support systems.

Food Security Proposals
Strategies to enhance food security were also discussed, addressing the basic needs of vulnerable populations.

While the meeting covered several aspects of the City's plan to address homelessness, specific details won't be finalized and presented for several weeks.

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

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