Warden Lovshin believes the status quo can’t continue because it is “too expensive.”

Article by Valerie Macdonald

As Northumberland County agencies and volunteers get ready to undweeklongweek long survey and count of the number of people who remain homeless in the county, Warden Mark Lovshin says the hope is to find fewer in this situation.

The survey of homeless people involves various agencies and public volunteers. It begins Monday, April 16, continuing to Friday the 20th. The first count was completed in November, 2016.

“I guess what we are hoping is that the numbers have gone down,” Lovshin told the News Now Network in an interview Wednesday.

Change in procedures is one reason, he said, adding that some individuals and families have housing now.

Northumberland County’s only emergency shelter, Transition House in Cobourg, has been closed since last December (due to a break-in and assault on staff and the end of the funding by the county).

The county has been working with the Salvation Army since the closure, as well as others, as a stop gap measure, Lovshin explained.

The Request For Proposal (RFP) for a homeless shelter was extended recently due to questions from some of those who applied, he added, and that contract has not yet been awarded.

Awaiting the details contained in documents from applicants to the RFP may bring other solutions to emergency shelters, he said. Lovshin believes the status quo can’t continue because it is “too expensive.”

During this second ‘Registry Week’, volunteers will be surveying local residents currently couch-surfing, living outdoors, frequenting shelters or those whose housing is at risk. This is a key component of the national 20,000 Homes Campaign in which Northumberland County is participating, and also now a mandate from the provincial government for all communities,” states a county media release. “The information gathered will be used by the county and community partners to connect people with the right types of housing services and supports.”

In an interview after this second count was outlined to county councillors, and reiterated in a media release, the county’s community and social services director, Lisa Horne stated that “surveys are based on a widely-used model that assesses each individual’s housing history, health, and current levels of risk and need…Throughout the week, we will be updating our by-name registry of individuals experiencing homelessness.”

The Homelessness Coordinated Response Team (HCRT) will then review the updated data to assign each new individual to the most appropriate lead agency, with priority placed on stabilizing the living conditions of those who require the most intensive supports.”

According to the most recent information made pubic there were 105 people identified to January, 2017 experiencing homelessness plus 31 families, with 23 “active cases of homelessness currently being supported by local agencies via the Homelessness Coordinated Response Team” states a report.