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TBDSSAB addresses homelessness in the city

By CJ Goater Nov 28, 2023 | 4:54 PM

Acadia Broadcasting File Photo

After receiving messages of concern about homelessness in the city with winter approaching The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board has released a statement regarding homelessness in the city.

The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board states that quantifying the true number of homeless individuals in any community is complex. Homelessness is inherently inconstant and lacks a common understanding of the definition, making it difficult to quantify.

“Any statistical count related to homelessness in our district is, at this time, an approximation based on the data that is available to us and observations made by staff and community partners.”

The TBDSSAB has stated that their outreach team has been working at encampments and shelters.

“Because they are part of the TBDSSAB team, they have access to other databases and can cross-reference people to ensure accurate counts. Including knowing knowledge about those with a permanent residence who have chosen to live at an encampment for part of the year.”

Different organizations have released conflicting numbers compared to TBDSSAB, with Elevate NWO homelessness count coming in higher.

The board’s Chief Administrative Officer Bill Bradica explained that the board has the utmost confidence in their numbers “I can’t speak to how they obtain their figure, all I can tell you is our count is accurate.”

According to TBDSSAB “As of November 23, 2023, our Transitional Outreach and Support Worker team counted 18 unique individuals sleeping rough in Thunder Bay. This is down from a count on Thursday, November 16 where the team counted 28. We are confident in this enumeration.”

TBDSSAB has also highlighted its Homelessness Prevention Program budget for 2023/24 which includes almost $3 million towards Community Outreach and Support Services, an increase of $600,000 over 2022/23.

TBDSSAB HPP funding – Via TBDSSAB Statement

Shelter usage is increasing as people move back into shelters for Winter.

According to TBDSSAB Emergency shelters have not been at full capacity so far this fall.

“There were 128 emergency beds offered in Thunder Bay as of October 31 with 90 being used. On November 22, 121 beds were being used. TBDSSAB is arranging for additional beds at shelters for overflow that will increase the total emergency shelter beds from 128 to 158.”

In situations where there is no shelter capacity, even with overflow beds, arrangements are made for hotel nights.

TBDSSAB receives support from its emergency shelter partners: Grace Place, Shelter House, Salvation Army, and Urban Abbey.