MANITOULIN – Last week, the business case for phase three of funding through the Social Services Relief Fund (SSRF) was shared with members of the Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board (DSB) with good news for Manitoulin Family Resources (MFR), which will be the beneficiary of $331,405 of the $1 million pot of money.
MFR will be receiving $50,000 through the SSRF for a renovation for its community kitchen located within the food bank building.
Marnie Hall, MFR executive director, said that while they are still in the early stages of figuring out a plan of action for its community kitchen, virtual programming, such as EarlyON cooking nights or cooking classes through the food bank, are some options that are being investigated. The funds will be used to retrofit the current kitchen and for upgrades to the kitchen’s water system.
MFR is also receiving $100,000 through the SSRF to continue its COVID-19 supportive isolation centre.
Ms. Hall explained that the centre, located in Mindemoya, provides people with a place to self-isolate after contracting COVID-19 if they can’t do so safely at home. She noted that Manitoulin has got things covered if there’s a surge or outbreak through the field hospital located at the Northeast Town recreation centre, but that these funds are a stop-gap measure for those isolated COVID-19 events.
“In light of the variants and rate of transmission, they extended the envelope of money because we just don’t know what’s coming,” Ms. Hall noted. The SSRF has previously funded homelessness supports during the pandemic, which will continue, the executive director added.
Lastly, MFR received $181,405 through SSRF to partner with the DSB to hire a transitional housing support person as well as a mental health and addictions worker for one year who will work in tandem to support vulnerable persons.
Ms. Hall said that, while ultimately additional housing units would be great to see, until that happens, these new hires will help individuals secure and maintain housing. The housing support worker will help people find housing while the mental health and addictions workers will aid in helping with treatment and access to other supports.
“This is a new branch for us, but it ties in with all of our programs,” Ms. Hall shared, adding that ensuring that people are safe and housed is of the utmost importance.
“We’ve been extremely fortunate to have received as much funding as we have from our local DSB,” the executive director added. “These are the supports we need to better support our community.”