Sarnia’s homeless crisis could worsen in the coming weeks as CERB and other government support programs run out, says Lambton County’s homelessness prevention manager.

“We need to at least be prepared for it. Given the economic trends and what we know is coming it’s a reasonable assumption,” Melissa Fitzpatrick said.

Sarnia’s two homeless shelters are full and have been throughout the pandemic. The overflow – more than 200 adults and children, are put up each night at motels and hotels in Sarnia and Point Edward.

A national guaranteed basic income modelled after a pilot program that once existed in Ontario could cut poverty levels nearly in half, according to Canada’s spending watchdog.

The overall cost of the program would be $85 billion in 2021-22, increasing to $93 billion in its fourth year, although eliminating a wide array of federal and provincial tax credits no longer needed could fund much of the project through new personal income-tax revenues.

City Council has resolved to support the continuation of an interim shelter and directed administration to find a new location in collaboration with the Province and service providers.

“We have a responsibility to look after our most vulnerable citizens in a responsible manner, with the interests of the wider community in mind as well,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “Without a permanent integrated homeless shelter in place, infrastructure we have been advocating the Province for years to complete, it is no surprise that the public is frustrated, the service providers are frustrated and the vulnerable themselves are frustrated…”

It is time to demand reform to our safety net of income security to a basic level of income for all Canadians — to reduce poverty and inequality.

This is time to recognize the polarization of income (haves and have-nots), and stop stigmatizing and degrading people living in poverty. It’s also a time to make decisions on a just society that will not be impacted by political concessions or changes in the political party in power. A basic income should be a right, not a privilege. Moving from welfare to an income transfer program is moving helplessness to hope.

Réseau Habitation Femmes, located in the Villeray—St-Michel—Parc-Extension borough, will be able to offer 26 housing units to single mothers who are living on low income and at risk of becoming homeless. The units represent an investment of $10.9 million.

The Old Brewery Mission will be able to offer 24 rooms and support services in the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough to people who are either homeless or at risk of becoming itinerant. This part of the project represents a $6.6-million investment for the parties involved.

The announcement comes after the city had to deal with serious problems involving homeless people in recent months, including the tent city that emerged on Notre-Dame St. after the pandemic struck, and the death of Raphaël André, a 51-year-old homeless man who was found dead in a portable toilet in Plateau-Mont-Royal.

So much of our daily life is centred on food: it nourishes our health and well-being; strengthens our social and cultural bonds; and fuels our creativity and productivity.

Sadly, too many Ontarians have insufficient access to food. Food insecurity has reached a critical point and threatens the well-being of children and families as well as our overburdened health-care system.

A new report, Eating in Ontario: What do we know?, from the Ontario Public Health Association and Nutrition Connections reveals the significance of the threat. Consider, nearly one in seven (13.3 per cent) of all households experience food insecurity. This includes one in three female lone-parent households. People who self-identify as Indigenous are three times more likely to experience food insecurity (22.5 per cent) compared to the non-Indigenous population (6.8 per cent).