Layoffs to come at Mission Services after funding increase denied

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With the requested funding increase denied, a London social agency that supports the city’s most vulnerable is considering layoffs and cuts to the length of time adults can stay in its residential drug treatment center.

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With the requested funding increase denied, a London social agency that supports the city’s most vulnerable is considering layoffs and cuts to the length of time adults can stay in its residential drug treatment center.

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Mission Services of London will downsize and make changes to the way it operates its men’s residential drug treatment center, Quintin Warner House, this spring after its request for a raise of more than $ 700,000 from to its previous funding was denied by the provincial government. organization that allocates funds for health care in much of southwestern Ontario.

“There’s just one word to describe it all, and it’s ‘sad’. It’s very sad. But we’re sort of in that financial box, ”said Peter Rozeluk, Executive Director of Mission Services. “In the future, we just cannot maintain it.”

The agency will close 21 emergency beds at its York Street shelter by April 1. The beds treated 7,690 stays during the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The end of the program will affect about a dozen jobs, Rozeluk said.

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Clients who attempt to access residential addiction treatment services at Quintin Warner House may also feel the consequences, Rozeluk said.

“We’re going to have to get very creative with how we deliver this residential drug treatment program,” he said.

The Queen’s Avenue facility can accommodate 14 men who stay on site for four months each. Mission Services is also able to place men who have successfully completed the drug treatment program in supportive housing for up to a year, Rozeluk said.

The service takes in men from different parts of the province and usually has a waiting list, Rozeluk said. With its funding increase denied, Mission Services may have to reduce its program from four months to three, reduce the length of time clients can access supportive housing after the program ends, or reduce site staff. , a decision that would affect the number of clients they can support at the same time.

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“When you look at social programs, your biggest cost is your personnel cost,” Rozeluk said.

Mission Services had asked the South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) – the regional agency that oversees health spending from Elgin County to Tobermory, including London – $ 627,000 for Quintin Warner House, an increase of $ 201,707 over its previous funding.

It was a necessary request, said Rozeluk, as mission services bore the increasing costs of running the programs with more and more donations and reserve money.

“The funding gap that has existed for a very long time,” he said. “It got to a point where we were basically the main funder and we fell into it because we know they need services. “

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Rozeluk acknowledges that the South West LHIN, which is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, is under pressure and is also forced to make tough calls.

“The province has emphasized the importance of mental health and addiction services and I take them at their word,” said Rozeluk. “We have not given up on our advocacy.

Town Hall Housing and Social Services Executive Director Sandra Datars Bere said staff were working with other community resources on an interim response to the impending closure of Mission Services emergency beds.

Unity Project executive director Chuck Lazenby has no doubts that London’s network of shelters and community resources will come together to find a long-term solution.

“It’s always worrying when there are beds that are closed. However, this community works very well together, ”Lazenby said. “We have already encountered problems. . . We have always found a solution. I’m just very confident in this community to respond in a way that offers something that doesn’t leave people hanging around.

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