London, Ont. Accommodation services brace for bed cuts as city prepares new contracts – London
Agencies providing accommodation services in London, Ont., Are preparing to cut the number of beds their facilities can provide as the city works to renew a number of homelessness prevention contracts.
The reduction in the number of beds stems from a new rule in an ongoing City of London Request for Proposal (RFP).
The call for tenders, which was published on the city’s website for tenders and tenders in September, asks the organizations concerned to have “a maximum of 50 emergency accommodation beds per location”.
The city’s contracts with accommodation services are due to expire on March 31, 2022, meaning new contracts would take effect the next day.
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Craig Cooper, director of the city’s Housing Stability Services, says the process leading up to the RFP “allowed us to really understand what has changed in a shelter system that has not undergone any sort of hardship. reassessment over the past 10 or 10 years. 15 years old. “
This process, which began with an update to London’s Housing Stability Action Plan, included extensive community consultation that revealed a desire to reduce the need for and reliance on shelter beds. in London, and move to a more “housing-focused” approach, Cooper said. .
“So we don’t want to see type 100, type 150 shelter beds. A lot of people have indicated that they can’t feel safe in these spaces, that they don’t meet their need for shelter. low barrier, as well as other metrics from our survey, ”added Cooper.
Those comments led to the 50-bed cap for accommodation services included in the RFP, but Cooper said the city plans to continue funding 300 accommodation beds across London, as it currently does.
“Shelters play an important role in our system, I think what we really need to focus on is how, as a service of the housing stability system, do we support people who need to go to a shelter. ? We use an emergency shelter just for that, it’s an emergency, ”Cooper said.
“For too long I think a number of our people in shelters have been stranded to get housing, and so what we’re looking to do is make sure that this system is nimble and is worded in a way that is. that an individual’s experience at the shelter be minimized.
Cooper added that he won’t know which local agencies will apply for until the tender closes on Oct. 13.
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The new limit for shelter beds would mean a reduction from the 117 beds at the Salvation Army’s Hope Center.
“It’s a large number; that’s more than half, ”said executive director Jon DeActis.
DeActis says the Center of Hope is working on its own app for the city’s tender, but notes that there are a lot of unanswered questions in the meantime.
“Until we see the end of (the PD) it’s hard to know what the next steps are… we’re going to wait and see and continue to work with the city and the other shelters and see what the numbers look like. and we go from there.
Mission Services of London executive director Peter Rozeluk said he expected changes to accommodation services in London, adding that the city “has been reporting this for some time.”
“Sure, when you have big changes like this it’s disruptive, but the disruption can also be for good,” Rozeluk said.
“This will present challenges and the biggest challenge is clearly the loss of the number of beds at Men’s Mission, and potentially at the Rotholme Family Shelter and the Salvation Army. “
Like DeActis, Rozeluk says the final impact won’t be revealed until the RFP closes.
In the meantime, Mission Services of London is preparing to reduce the number of emergency accommodation beds it is providing to Men’s Mission and Rotholme Family Shelter, which includes a review of how to make better use of its facilities.
“There are definitely going to be other uses, we have no idea what they’re going to be at that point, but we have several months to try to figure out this one,” Rozeluk said.
After the RFP closes on October 13, city staff will review and evaluate all submissions before sending a recommendation to city council.
The Council is expected to give its final approval on December 21.
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