Downtown Mission to Put Housing First for 2020

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Windsor's Downtown Mission is making permanent housing its focus for 2020.

Executive Director Reverend Ron Dunn sat down with AM800's Angelo Aversa on Experts on Call and says with renovations of its new location on Ouellette Avenue set to begin in the New Year,  the mission has decided to implement a housing first strategy.

Dunn says that means assessing resources and re-allocating them towards the goal of getting people off the streets for good.

 "Are we doing our absolute best to help people into housing? We answered no. Sometimes you have to take a look internally and ask yourself what you can do better," he says. "For the 2020 year we really want to become more focused on housing and moving people from shelter."

He says the services the mission provides helps people day-to-day, but giving people a home is a long-term solution.

"More of a concerted effort to move people into the house that they deserve as a member of our society," says Dunn. "Housing is a right. Adequate safe housing is something that everybody is entitled to and we want to do more to help."

Dunn notes shelters simply aren't meant to be a home.

"It's not a great place. You're sleeping in a room with 10, 15, 20, other people. You're living on the street for most of your day and that's not what we want for our fellow Windsorites. We can do better and we know that," he added.

Dunn says 50 affordable apartments planned for the mission's new building will be a good start.

The date to move into the former Central Library on Ouellette Avenue was pushed back from June of 2019 to February of 2020.

Close to $2.3-million of the $9.3-million needed to complete renovations has been raised through the mission's Building Hope Campaign.