THUNDER BAY -- Shelter House wouldn't have been able to offer its SOS cold weather program without the Consolidated Homeless Prevention Initiative.
"It allowed us to reach out to people who are living outside that are homeless during this winter and support them. We provided blankets and food. We've provided access to primary care," said Jim Restall, president of the shelter's board.
The CHPI was formed last year by amalgamating five provincial homelessness-related programs previously administered by the Ministry of Community and Social Services or the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Having the programs consolidated gives the Thunder Bay District Social Services Administration Board more freedom in doling out about $700,000 in funding.
"The previous programs had different rules for eligibility. Under this program, the DSSAB is actually allowed to have much more flexibility in how it allocates the funds," said Bill Bradica, CAO of the Thunder Bay DSSAB.
The CHPI also ensures all the money is used.
Bradica said with some of the restrictions on the former programs, they weren't always able to use all of the funding.
"This way we're fully utilizing the money and just having local rules involved is very helpful," he said.
In addition to Shelter House, funding from CHPI also helped the Lakehead Social Planning Council implement initiatives in their poverty reduction report.
These initiatives were recognized Friday morning at the Thunder Bay DSSAB building along with the programs the Community Social Reinvestment Fund have assisted.
Through the CSRF, DSSAB funds items like nutrition and food security programs, recreation and employment supports for parents.
It's helped programs like the Youth Centre of Thunder Bay stay afloat.
Youth Centre president Colleen Peters said before the CSRF funding, they didn't know where they were going to find the financial assistance for operating costs.
"Having the fund available to us, just allows us to continue to operate, to provide a safe and structured environment for youth and with it, the struggle to keep the youth centre open would be much harder than what it is today," said Peters, adding the funding from DSSAB shows they believe youth are a priority in the community.
"We know we have many different barriers and struggles for youth so for the DSSAB to provide this type of funding, it's a solid commitment and a loud statement," she said.
About $590,000 was allocated to 42 applicants through the CSRF this year.
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