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Simcoe County sees hope in $9.7M funding from province to reduce homelessness

Homelessness is one of the most pressing issues currently facing Simcoe County. However, now the region is seeing some relief in the form of a $9.7 million funding boost from the province's homeless prevention program, that will contribute $202 million across Ontario. The goal is to reduce homelessness and improve shelter conditions, immunity services and support programs.

"The need is greater than ever before. This is the same in Midland, Barrie and all those other communities. So this funding will be able to change that and get people off the street," said Linda Goodall, Executive Director of The Lighthouse.

"I don't want to be homeless anymore. It's not easy," said Elly Legion, who has found support at The Lighthouse.

Legion is just one of over 700 people currently living without housing in Simcoe County.

Spending the last three years on the streets. She has now found shelter at the Orillia lighthouse and help through its programming.

"When I first came here, I had nothing, and they helped me with everything," said Legion.

Shelters around the county say this kind of support can only be accomplished through vital funding.

"The province shows its confidence in us, a service manager, to deliver the services across the county that will help support the most vulnerable people," said Mina Fayez-Bahgat, the County of Simcoe Social and Community Services General Manager.

The funding is an 86 percent increase over the past ten years, giving the county the needed funds to proceed with its own homelessness prevention strategy.

"It's an incredibly important moment as now we can start to increase our services and enhance our capacity," added Fayez-Bahgat.

The county has asked its community partners and shelters to submit a request with which programs will need that additional funding. Then once those are reviewed and approved, the money is expected to be distributed within 30 days.

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