by David Gordon

The United Counties of Leeds & Grenville [UCLG] Council has been dealing recently with the problem of chronic homelessness in the province and our municipalities. The goal of the Ontario Government is to end homelessness by the year 2025, and the UCLG are preparing a study to estimate the size of the problem in our region.

The Canadian definition of homelessness is the situation of an individual, or family, without stable, permanent, appropriate housing, or the immediate prospect, means and ability of acquiring it. It is the result of systemic or societal barriers, a lack of affordable and appropriate housing , and the individual or household’s financial, mental, cognitive, behavioural, or physical challenges. Most people do not choose to be homeless, and the experience is generally negative, unpleasant, stressful, and distressing. Homelessness has been one of the hidden shames of Canada for years and now, finally, we are looking at the problem and attempting to eliminate some of the things that create homelessness.

The Province, along with the UCLG, will be doing a local enumeration of people experiencing homelessness, and this is planned to take place in May, 2018. The objectives of local homeless enumeration are, first of all, to provide a snapshot of homelessness, including information on the scope and nature of homelessness in our communities, and to provide a mechanism for tracking progress and trends including establishing a baseline sample that can to used to track progress in reducing homelessness and chronic homelessness over time. This will also add to the accuracy of provincial reporting on the problem of homelessness. The enumeration will provide data that our Service Managers can use to monitor the impact of local strategies and initiatives, and will provide information to drive change, spur innovation, and enable continuous improvement. Data gathered through enumeration can provide information about whether programs and initiatives are having the desired impact on the problem of homelessness in the United Counties.

Due to the size and mix of urban and rural populations in Leeds and Grenville, it was determined that the most productive way of enumeration would be a method called Period Prevalence Count. This method is a coordinated, multi-day count that captures the incidence of homelessness over a period of time. This method is sometimes preferred in Ontario’s rural and Northern areas, where people experiencing homelessness are most often hidden, and less likely to be visible on the streets and in shelters. The plan is to report back on the results of the Homelessness Enumeration to the Joint Services Committee in September, 2018.

UCLG Paramedic Call Report:

The County Council also received a summary report of the Leeds and Grenville Paramedic Service [LGPS] Third Quarter Call Report, ending September 30, 2017. As of September 30, 2017, LGPS has responded to 9,111 emergency calls compared to 8,813 for the same period in 2016, an increase of 298 calls. Non-urgent patient transfers have increased slightly compared to the same period last year. As of September 30, 2017, staff have responded to 302 non-urgent transfers, compared to 298 in 2016, an increase of four calls.

The third-quarter response time’s targets for sudden cardiac arrest and CTAS levels within Leeds and Grenville were achieved. The average response time to life threatening calls in Leeds and Grenville is currently at nine minutes thirty five seconds.

Paramedic services from other municipalities responded to 895 calls in Leeds and Grenville, compared to 794 in 2016. LGPS responded to 594 calls outside Leeds and Grenville, as compared to 612 in 2016. Staff will continue to monitor the cross-border calls in Ottawa and Cornwall, Stormont Dundas and Glengarry, where there are no cross-border billing agreements.

The UCLG Council is composed of the mayors of all the Townships and Villages in Leeds and Grenville. The current Council is chaired by Robin Jones, Mayor of the Village of Westport, who is the Warden of the United Counties. The role of Council is to represent the public and to represent the various communities as the Municipal Council does in each one. The Counties Council usually meets on the third Thursday during the third full week of each month, in the Council Chambers, 25 Central Avenue West, Brockville, Ontario. The next UCLG Council meeting takes place on November 23.


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