The Grace Inn homeless shelter in Belleville received an unexpected financial boost Wednesday.
Hastings-Quinte Community and Human Resources committee Director Erin Rivers says she unexpectedly found that $7,908 had been sitting in the budget since 2009, when former director Eric Frye “designated it for just such a shelter.”
Rivers said Grace Inn will complement other county-funded programs,including the after-hours emergency shelter program operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association. “They face challenges that go way beyond a lack of money or affordable housing,” Rivers said of people who are homeless.
People in urgent need are given motel or hotel rooms temporarily, with the county paying an average of $90.39 per night in 2017. “In 2017 we supported 302 households in crisis … equivalent to 626 nights in a hotel,” Rivers said. That cost the county $56,581.
That does not include former tenants of the failed Bel Marine residence in Belleville, which closed during February 2017. Rivers said that the Bel Marine crisis had the county paying for an additional 470 rooms for 34 households.
She says her department will work closely with Grace Inn once it opens later this year.
Rivers added, “Right now in order to address immediate homeless issues we use temporary motel stays. It’s a solution but not a great solution because it doesn’t provide the housing stabilization support that people in crisis need, so with Jody offering this shelter they have a special focus on dignity and mentorship in the community and people get the support they need to move along to longterm housing.”