Thursday, March 12, 2015

Unitarian Shelter Seeks More City Funding

Cold Weather Shelter Seeking $60,000/yr. From City

The above screengrab comes from a front page article in the local Daily reporting on the shelter in the Unitarian Church seeking $60,000 per year from the city to keep the shelter open. Before city council opens the city wallet, there needs to be a full accounting of how this shelter operates and who should be paying for the staffing. This is looking like a prime example of the government shirking it's duties and once again downloading a program, they should be providing onto local government.

If I understand the funding model from the government, they pay the shelter $XXX.XX every night the mercury dips below a certain point. This shelter has been open every day since Nov. 1 until the end of Mar. regardless of outside temperature. As a result the provincial government has not been covering the total cost of keeping the shelter open.

At the committee of the whole meeting on March 9 representatives from shelter made a presentation to council outlining the number of people they have served and their need for more funding to maintain their current service levels, which now exceed what was originally provided when the shelter first opened. If memory serves the first year this was open, it was purely a volunteer effort on the part of the congregation of the Unitarian Church, with the shelter opened when the weather was cold enough. It has now morphed into a service which does provide a needed, valuable service in the community with at least four people on the payroll.

At the committee of the whole meeting, the delegates seemed unprepared to be making an official request for $60,000/yr. funding and it would be hoped they will be better prepared if they are making an official funding request to the city.

To be clear, this is a needed service in our community, but it is the type of service our provincial tax dollars should already be paying for. Something in the order of one third funding coming from the city and the balance from senior government would be a fair split. Those funds should only be considered after an evaluation of what this Church is providing. It seems as if the shelter has become a profit centre for the congregation as the Reverend said 25% of her salary is paid by the shelter.


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