Members of the Developmental Services Housing Task Force met last month to complete their deliberations regarding proposals for creative and sustainable solutions to the housing crisis in the Developmental Services Sector. Currently, there are approximately 14,000 adults with intellectual disabilities in need of residential supports.
80 proposals were submitted as part of the first round of the Expression of Interest (EOI) process. For the last six weeks, the Task Force has been reviewing the proposals to determine which ones should be passed on to the Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) for final approval.
Update Friday spoke with Ron Pruessen, Chair of the Housing Task Force, about the review process. “We were overwhelmed with the amount of great ideas and projects that were submitted. It was almost frustrating because we knew that with our limited funding, we wouldn’t be able to consider all of them,” says Pruessen.
With an annual budget of $3 million, the Task Force hopes to provide funding to the projects that prove to be effective responses to tackling the current waitlist of people who require residential services.
The proposals that were selected by the Task Force have been referred to MCSS with the expectation that several of the proposals will be approved for future funding.
The Housing Task Force has a second EOI planned for the fall and will be accepting new proposals.
“Our plan is to set a deadline for the second round of proposals for the fall in order to fully utilize the funding provided for this fiscal year,” says Pruessen.
“In this particular EOI process, we were focusing on sustainable, creative ideas that could help leverage the funding from MCSS for housing supports and residential programs. We did not want to look at things that were already being done.”
In addition to the funding, the two tiered proposal process was developed so that the Housing Task Force could grant people and organizations enough time to fine tune their submissions and to ensure that all of their creative ideas were taken into consideration.
In the future, the Housing Task Force is looking to access the expertise, experience and the resources of other ministries, in particular the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Ministry of Health. Pruessen believes that there is an underlying assumption that MCSS solely carries the burden of handling residential supports, when in fact there should be several other ministries involved with solving the housing crisis.
“Starting in September, there will be a very intensive push on how government efforts address these housing issues.”
Another key objective for the Housing Task Force is to secure for more funding from the government. With the amount of proposals and ideas that are being submitted, Pruessen believes more funding will give the Housing Task Force the ability to make more of the ideas and proposals a reality.
If you or someone you know is interested in submitting an Expression of Interest in the fall, visit the Housing Task Force website here for more information.