New shelter users asked to register at Citi Plaza
LONDON, ONT. -- Those using London homeless shelters for the first time are about to encounter a new level of bureaucracy.
The city is asking first-timers to register at its office inside Citi Plaza before intake at a shelter.
If it’s outside normal business hours people can stay at the shelter, but have to report to Citi Plaza the next day.
Craig Cooper, manager of Homeless Prevention, tells CTV News in an email response that it’s about moving to a coordinated access system to meet home funding requirements.
“We heard there needs to be a system change in how people access services from the community consultation for our housing stability plan. That shelters should be a destination of last resort, not of first resort.”
Former shelter user Bryan Currie says he believes some people on the street may not be inclined to go to an office to register, and will opt to stay outside.
“Where you've already been institutionalized and traumatized by that. Like, a lot of people don't really go to shelters and stuff like that because of the bureaucracy.”
Shelter user Cliff Royea Jr. wonders if it’s a way for the city to find out how many people from outside of London are using the system.
“If they're from out of town you know it sort of encourages them to go back to where they came from.”
Manager of Coordinated Informed Response, Debbie Kramers, says anyone who is uncomfortable coming into the office, or unable to, can be met somewhere else.
“We're very mobile. We will come out and speak to someone and hopefully be able to divert from wherever they're at. Also, usually first-time shelter users wouldn't really have a sense of what the regular system is so they wouldn't see that as being out of the norm.”
The initiative is a pilot project aimed at having a so-called coordinated access system in place by April of 2022.