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London needs to secure more funding before the search for additional homeless hub locations can resume


Six months after the city sought out agencies to operate the first service hubs for homeless Londoners— two sites have opened.

However, expanding the rollout will require securing more funding.

On Tuesday, city council extended contracts with seven local homeless shelters for two years to avoid a service gap as London continues to work on creating up to 15 low-barrier hubs and 600 supportive housing units as part of the Whole of Community Response to Homelessness.

Mayor Josh Morgan said before a second Request for Proposals (RFP) is issued to choose additional hub locations and operators, the city needs to secure sufficient funding to operate them.

“Once we secure the operating dollars we’ll be able to [launch] further RFP’s or take more proposals in,” explained Josh Morgan after Tuesday’s council meeting. “We need to make sure we don’t step too far ahead of our actual capacity to implement.”

Morgan met with representatives of the provincial government last week about the city’s pursuit of operating funds.

Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Rob Flack, who is also the Associate Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, points to a recent funding increase received by the city as a possible funding source.

Last April, the London region received a 63 per cent ($8.5 million) increase to its annual allocation from Ontario’s Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP).

“This is, in my opinion, above and beyond what the give was. How they want to allocate those homelessness prevention dollars is up to London,” Flack told CTV News.

“We are using the additional HPP dollars to fund the Atlohsa and Y.O.U. hubs, and that money also funds a range of other homeless services,” the mayor responded.

The two hubs that opened this winter serve priority populations, specifically youth and indigenous people.

To ensure every Londoner living unsheltered has access to the Whole of Community Response will require more hubs.

The original RFP estimated operating each hub will cost about $2.7 million a year.

“London, respectfully, is not the only community in Ontario that is facing a homelessness crisis,” Flack said.

He added that even rural communities around London are requesting financial assistance for their own homelessness crises.

“London understands that we’re not alone in this,” said Morgan. “As the vice-chair of the Ontario Big City Mayors, I can tell you the work that we’re doing on this file across the province is consistent and it is unified.”

The mayor said initial data collected from the first two hubs is being forwarded to the province to support the city’s funding request.

He’s also open to having the hubs plan initially supported as a pilot project.

“If that means it’s limited-term funding, or a pilot project, or whatever you want to call it, then that’s a great way for us to demonstrate for the rest of the province solutions that can work,” explained the mayor.

Flack also described the plan in a similar way, “The hubs model, its innovative, its new, and importantly I would call it a pilot project.” Top Stories

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