Over $2Million In Social Service Support for Rainy River District Services / AgenciesPublished on December 14, 2020
PHOTO: TOM THOMSON
FORT FRANCES — Today, Greg Rickford, MPP for Kenora–Rainy River and Minister of Indigenous Affairs, joined the Fort Frances Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) to announce $834,503 in funding for their Mental Health and Justice supports. MPP Rickford also announced $1,193,200 for Fort Frances Tribal Area Health Services for their support services for victims of human trafficking, as well announcing an additional $106,600 in Social Services Relief funding for the Rainy River District Social Services Board.
As part of the province’s continued investment in mental health, CMHA Fort Frances will be receiving an additional $843,504 to enhance programs related to mobile crisis and support, as well as Mental Health and Justice supportive housing.
“These investments will enhance our local programs and help CMHA Fort Frances continue to make a difference in in our community,” said Minister Rickford. “This investment will increase capacity for mobile crisis services that involve police-partnered response teams to support people in crisis and minimize their interactions with the criminal justice system.”
Currently, CMHA Fort Frances has one full-time crisis response worker situated in Fort Frances. Today’s announcement of increased funding will allow for an additional full-time support worker to be added to the Aitikokan service area, with increased resources being added to Fort Frances, Emo and Rainy River.
“CMHA is overjoyed with the announcement to fund a modified safe bed program. The program will further support and enhance the current Rainy River District Mobile Crisis Response Team with our OPP partners,” said Shiela Shaw, Executive Director, CMHA, Fort Frances. “The additional expansion of housing support staff and subsidies will assist in securing permanent housing for some of our most vulnerable people. We are extremely appreciative of all our community partners, the Northwest LHIN, MOH and Province of Ontario for their generous support.”
In addition to this funding, CMHA Fort Frances will also receive rent supplement funding from the Ministry for an additional 8 supportive housing units in order to further help these most vulnerable individuals.
Today, Minister Rickford also announced that Fort Frances Tribal Area Health Services will be receiving $1,193,200 for their Anti-Human Trafficking project to support prevention, intervention and aftercare services for children and youth aged 12 and up, including follow-up support and community integration.
“Indigenous women and children make up a disproportionate number of those exploited through human trafficking in Ontario,” said Minister Rickford. “We are taking serious action to put an end to human trafficking in Ontario and ensuring victims in Northwestern Ontario have access to culturally appropriate supports and services as a part of our plan to combat this abhorrent crime.”
This funding today is part of the province-wide strategy to combat human trafficking. The Ontario Government is providing a total of $46 million for new community-based services, such as those being undertaken by Fort Frances Tribal Area Health Services.
“At Fort Frances Tribal Area Health Services (FFTAHS), we aspire to create an organization that forges a path to wellness by integrating programs that are rooted in the resiliencies and strengths of our Anishinaabe people. FFTAHS is beyond grateful to have received the support from the Anti-human Trafficking Indigenous-led Initiatives Fund,” said Kayla Caul Chartier, Fort Frances Tribal Area Health Services. “We are pleased to be able to play a role in Ontario’s five-year Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy, which will enhance our current program (Memengwaawag), while allowing us to focus on prevention, intervention and after care initiatives.”
This is part of the government’s commitment to addressing violence against women and girls in all its forms, including human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Earlier this year, Ontario unveiled its $307 million Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy, which aims to raise awareness of the issue, protect victims and intervene early, support survivors and hold offenders accountable.
Finally, MPP Rickford announced an additional $106,600 through the Social Services Relief Fund to support the Rainy River District Social Services Board (RRDSSB). This relief funding is being used to improve the delivery of critical services to protect homeless shelter staff and residents, renovate and purchase shelter facilities and or create longer term housing solutions and support plans for potential emergencies.
“The RRDSSB is extremely pleased to receive an additional $106,600 through the Social Service Relief Fund from the Province of Ontario,” said Dan McCormick, CAO for the RRDSSB. “The continued support of the Province and our MPP, the Hon. Greg Rickford, is instrumental in ensuring the continued safety and wellbeing of our residents, protecting and improving the homeless while seeking long term solutions.”
In 2020, the Ontario Government has provided a total of $711,961 for RRDSSB for COVID-19 relief funding.