Another successful Town Hall
The Ward 1 Town Hall, Nov. 16, presented by Councillors Maurice Brenner and Linda Cook was an unreserved success in terms of theme and information. Once again, the two councillors must be congratulated for such an important public information presentation. The only hitch in the endeavour lies with the people of Pickering who again fail to make the effort to become better engaged with their community. Councillor Brenner has made the effort to give them interesting and valuable town halls three times in a row, and based on the low turnouts, to no avail. To his credit, Councillor Brenner is determined to keep offering the residents opportunities to learn more about their dynamic City of Pickering. What are the people of the City going to do?
Ward 1 Town Hall REPORT
Regional Councillors Maurice Brenner and Linda Cook held another Town Hall event at the West Shore Community Centre on Nov. 16. Director of the West Shore Community Association, Jake Farr, emceed the event, managing the presentations ensuring that each received sufficient time for explaining its work.
The theme of the Town Hall was “Homelessness in the Pickering area,” with four agency representatives presenting and explaining the work their agency does in relation to the homeless in the area.
Elaine Knox (Community Safety & Well-Being), Brandy Henderson (Durham Region Prgm Coordinator), Lisa McIntosh (Director, Prov. Social Assistance), Margaret Shedden-Eskins (DARS), Regional Councillor Maurice Brenner
Four agencies that work with the homeless presented and explained their work. The crucial basis of this work and its ideal goal is to transition incoming clientele from being persons dealing with serious and very troubling challenges in their lives to becoming people better skilled and more knowledgeable to be better able to deal with the difficulties and challenges they face. As each agency explained, their lofty goal is a dynamic and ever-developing endeavour as the number of homeless, persons needing living and residence assistance and support continues to grow at an alarming rate. Hence, the agencies’ ongoing problems of finance and facility acquisition have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and the current national economic problems facing all Canadians.
DARS (Dedicated Advocacy Resource Support)
DARS, a social support service, has been assisting needy residents of the Pickering area for nearly a decade. It provides members of the community facing economic and living difficulties with numerous services of varying levels of assistance: warming shelters, temporary to longer-term housing, medical care including foot care, dental care, pharmaceutical assistance, shower facilities and more.
The most ambitious and current DARS endeavour is the establishment and development of a transitional housing facility in the north end of Pickering. The facility is more than just a temporary residence for a limited number of clients. It will offer training and skills development so the residents can transition from challenged-living entry persons to exiting as more capable and better-skilled people.
The rented lease-basis facility will help residents develop skills and capability to better deal with their social and economic problems. Ultimately, the aim is that the clients will be able to re-establish themselves in the community as more independent and self-reliant members in it.
Director, PROVINCIAL SOCIAL ASSISTANCE Agency
Director McIntosh gave a comprehensive explanation of various aspects of assistance that come through her agency: OW (Ontario Welfare), ODSW (Ontario Disability Services Welfare). Provincially based, funding seems to be an ever-growing need, today dealing with the added problem of newly arriving immigrants. The assistance and support are an ever-changing and ever-increasingly challenged problem which her agency works hard to reduce and minimize through connectivity with the province.
Program Coordinator, Durham-Pickering Region
Brandy Henderson labelled her agency as the “action” of the agencies. She explained that the role of her agency was to realize the ideas and goals of the other agencies into concrete and real-world endeavours. The role of her agency is to be the ‘actualizer’ of the ideas and intentions of the other agencies turning the discussions, strategizing and planning into action.
Community Safety & Wellbeing and Homelessness Task Force
Knox is the City of Pickering’s ‘person at the table’ in all this support work. Her role is to find the local solutions to meet the needs: the facilities, the local personnel, the enhancements and the supplements. An example of her endeavours is coordination with the Pickering Public Library where the library offers training, skills development, resume writing, application forms assistance and Internet use facilitation to the clients her agency assists. The agency work entails a lot of engagement and initiatives with the commercial businesses of the community.
As Councillor Brenner reiterated the City of Pickering is deeply involved in working with the livability-challenged members of its community. It is a very serious problem that is ever-increasing. Brenner emphasizes that more help is needed from the provincial and federal governments and he urges that more City residents get involved in entreating those government levels to act. He suggests residents write or call their respective political representatives, Peter Bethlenfalvy, Ontario government and Jennifer O’Connell, Canadian federal government, to voice their concerns and petition for assistance the City of Pickering community needs.
PETER BETHLENFALVY: email@example.com Ph: 905 509 0336
JENNIFER O’CONNELL: firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: 905 839 2878