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Chatham-Kent preparing for increased need for shelter

As the weather begins to turn, municipal officials are preparing for an increase in shelter needs.

According to Chatham-Kent’s General Manager of Community and Human Services, April Rietdyk, she anticipates an increase in demand for emergency housing services as financial support from the federal government is coming to an end.

“When CERB government funding comes to an end, and people find themselves without income, we anticipate we will see more individuals become homeless,” said Rietdyk.

However, Rietdyk added the long-term goal is to ensure people eventually have a permanent place to call home.

Chatham-Kent relocated shelter services from the John D. Bradley Convention Centre to area motels earlier this month. According to Rietdyk, the move went better than expected.

“We are certainly working towards continuing to provide shelter services through our motels,” said Rietdyk. “That transition went very, very smoothly. Much smoother than we had anticipated”.

Rietdyk said staff are accepting individuals through the Employment and Social Services division and after-hours through the homeless response line.

“Our shelter residents have settled in quite well, and we continue to have agencies providing services to get individuals permanently housed.”

Rietdyk suggests anyone experiencing homelessness visit the Employment and Social Services main office at 435 Grand Ave. W. in Chatham between 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. After hours, on evenings, nights, weekends and holidays, individuals in need of emergency housing should call the homeless response line at 519-354-6628.

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News

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