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Council urged to fund extended downtown drop-in hours

City staff recommend council approve $250,850 in one-time funding for Royal City Mission
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Royal City Mission

City council is poised to consider one-time funding that would allow Royal City Mission to extend its downtown drop-in hours in the new year.

In a report headed to council on Dec. 13, city staff recommends approval of a $250,850 grant that would cover the cost of drop-in services at the Quebec Street facility beginning at 8 a.m. rather than noon and continue to 8 p.m.

This follows a July motion from council directing city staff to work with the County of Wellington social services committee and other stakeholders to identify gaps in the existing shelter system, with the goal of 24-hour shelter coverage.

“A gap was identified in the current provision of daytime shelter services in the downtown core as Royal City Mission is only open from 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm, leaving a four-hour gap in the morning,” the staff report explains. “County staff, working with the Royal City Mission, have identified the costs associated with extending the daytime hours for Royal City Mission to cover the entire time from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm.”

Stepping Stone operates an emergency shelter with 27 beds out of its Gordon Street facility between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.

The idea of extended drop-in hours was endorsed by the Strategic Advisory Group of Downtown Issues, a subcommittee of the Mayor’s Taskforce on Homelessness and Community Safety, during its Nov. 28 meeting.

A street outreach worker has been contracted to provide services at RCM until February, notes a county report attached to the Dec. 13 city council agenda. That position is funded out of the county’s existing housing division budget.