“The Busby Centre provides a key service in our community, helping the most marginalized citizens … with winter at hand, it is critical that the centre open for clients as soon as possible.” – Ward 4 Coun. Barry Ward
The $200,000 granted to the David Busby Centre by City Council Monday night is in keeping with the 2018-2022 term priorities the new council adopted recently, says Ward 4 Coun. Barry Ward.
For the coming term, council set five priorities: growing the local economy, fostering a safe and healthy city, building strong neighbourhoods, offering innovative and citizen-driven services, and improving the ability to get around Barrie.
“The Busby Centre provides a key service in our community, helping the most marginalized citizens … with winter at hand, it is critical that the centre open for clients as soon as possible,” says Ward.
The centre’s home at 88 Mulcaster Street has been undergoing a $920,000 renovation to increase its size from 3,000 to 6,000 square feet. The centre has managed to raise $520,000 towards the renovations, but fundraising has fallen short, says Ward, who put the motion to grant the $200,000 on the floor at the request of Mayor Jeff Lehman.
“The Busby Centre fundraising is still underway but has fallen short of the goal to date and the centre is ready to open. The purpose of the (centre’s) deputation (was) to bring council up to date on what is happening, along with informing new councillors about what services the Busby provides.”
Busby took over the Out of the Cold program last year, which worked with local churches to provide overnight shelter to those experiencing homelessness. A report, Simcoe County Homeless Enumeration, released in April identified almost 700 people who were homeless in Simcoe County, with 305 being located in Barrie.
When open, the centre will operate on a 24/7 basis. The Out of the Cold program was taken over by Busby last year, and has since ended. The centre will deploy its Housing First strategy, seeking to place those in need in permanent housing, with followup services.
“It is my understanding that Simcoe County, our social services partner, is also being asked to provide funding. At least half of the funding will come through the Busby’s own fundraising efforts,” says Ward.
“The way the grant request funding would be done is the result of the mayor consulting with staff as to the best way to provide the dollars. Section 37 money, or bonusing from developers, is meant to be directed to projects which have a community benefit. The Busby Centre, in my opinion, fits the bill.”