Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The outlook is "bleak" - $41,000 of bureaucratic fees required for permission to have an OOTC program. Please!!

To make a Zoning Bylaw Amendment the cost starts at $19,538 for the town and $820 for the Region. If a Local Official Plan Amendment is required the fee is $15,319 for the town and $6150 for the Region.

We spoke to the Planner, Development Review at the Milton Town Hall about how to get approval for an OOTC facility. The short summary of the meeting is that the prospect is quite bleak. At present there is no reference to such a facility in the Town Plan or the Zoning bylaws and therefore it is not permitted.

All of these are public applications, a specific site is required. The public is allowed to intervene. The applicant must address all the concerns of the public to the town’s satisfaction. In the case of OOTC, the public, residents and businesses, will express concerns about a collection of undesirable people causing a disturbance or an unsavoury presence which could have an adverse business affect. The applicant would be required to assure Town that every conceivable negative effect caused by the facility, including the congregation of the OOTC guests in the neighbourhood, can be immediately and satisfactorily mitigated.

However there is a glimmer of hope. With the redevelopment of St. Paul’s, there will probably be official plan and zoning bylaw amendments. St. Paul’s could include an OOTC facility within the application.

Maybe we could apply to the Region for funding to pay for the above Town and Regional fees or maybe we could raise money from the homeless!!!! This is so bureaucratic and ridiculous.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Zoning by laws

We approached the Town of Milton planning and development office. They in turn have consulted with fellow Zoning Officers and they all agree that the use of a premise on Main Street or church is not permitted under our zoning by-law. That means a rezoning would have to be done to allow the homeless shelter as a permitted use within the Town of Milton. The Town Planning Staff advise that the use of the two proposed premises is also not permitted in our Official Plan which means a local Official Plan Amendment would also be required in addition to the rezoning. The Planning staff also indicated that they would not support this use of a Main Street location and were more favorable to the church site. However, in order for them to give you any indication on whether staff would support an official plan amendment and rezoning they will require more information about the proposal. We would be
required to submit something in writing to the Planning Department for their consideration outlining the proposal in detail. They will need to know specific information including, operating hours, number of people, how you intend on screening the individuals, how you will handle situations if any were to arise, etc. Rezoning and official plan amendments normally take a number of months for processing and there are public meetings involved in the process. There are also substantial application fees for these applications that you may wish to discuss with planning. To proceed we would have to submit a written proposal for zoning and official plan amendments. Town of Milton Planning & Development This is immensely disappointing and frustrating as more and more obstacles arise to help people in our community.

Canadian Champion interview

I was interviewed yesterday by a reporter for the Milton Canadian Champion. They have offered their part to help promote the issue and any Out of the Cold shelter that becomes established in the town. A relative of the reporter also runs an OOTC program in Toronto. I hope the next Discussion Forum can involve representation from the Town Council, Region, Salvation Army and the paper.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Homeless Hub Team

Finally, after much anticipation, Phase II of the Homeless Hub is
complete! Please visit us at

In addition to the new look: We have added to our library which now contains over 25,000 homelessness resources; we've improved our search feature; we've enhanced our Topics and Subtopics section; we've added an Education section with curriculum units and resources for teachers and students; we've added networking tools that allow you to create a personal profile; connect to your own research; add resources to your favourites; "talk back" to and rate the resources; And much more!

To begin, please "Register" and follow the easy instructions to
create your profile. Once that is complete, you will be able to use all the
features mentioned above. So, please explore the new site, interact using our many new features and offer your feedback. Please spread word of the new Homeless Hub to everyone in your networks. We appreciate your support!
York University, Toronto

Appeal to the homeless

I was very interested to learn from David Jenkins and Paul Gregory last week that many homeless people do have access to the internet through public libraries and have their own email acoounts.

I am appealing to the homeless in Milton to feed suggestions to us as to exactly what they would like to see provided by way of a shelter, soup kitchen or out of the cold program. I would be very happy for the homeless to leave notes for me at St Paul's on Main Street East or on this blog as a comment.

Surely, the best way to ensure a program is tailored to the needs of those it is planned to serve is to ask.

Funding proposal

The Mission and Outreach sub action team at St. Pauls were encouraged by your interest in the OOTC project. An information session for Request for Grant Applications for Immediate Housing Solutions(G-002-09) gave us an opportunity to ask questions regarding the housing continuum. The OOTC project qualifies at the beginning of the housing continuum. There is federal and provincial funding available under the Homelessness Partnering Initiative. The application deadline is July 2nd,2009 at 2:00pm. The regional council will approval funding recommendations Oct.07,2009. The OOTC project requires a sponsoring organization to sign the application. Since we are in the beginning stage of this project, we hope the council of St.Pauls will accept the project. It can be transferred later to any independent organization. At present, a proposal is being prepared to present to the council meeting on June 22nd. We are working on the same concept as All Saints Kingsway in that we would start out small.


Do you think for the upcoming winter season that we could just do the Friday night meal, movie etc. and see how that goes before committing to the overnight program? We might be able to establish a good group of volunteers for that activity than would get the basic program established. It appeared to me that noone in Milton really knows just what the extent of the 'shelterless' is. I do support the whole idea and concept and commend you and the Outreach team for their diligence and perseverance.

Salvation Army

Capt. Bill Blackman expresses a sincere willingness for Salvation Army to offer food support, and although the volunteers are few they will show their support.

Facility location

We have been checking on the possibilities of obtaining store front space for OOTC. The prospects are not good. Royal Lepage said that most retail space is not zoned for sleeping and that the insurance does not allow sleeping accommodation. Also that such space in the newer malls is very expensive ($20 /sq ft) as is the space in downtown Milton. However there is a place on Main St that has apartments above it, which should get around the zoning, insurance concern. It is an older building, empty now and rents for $1500 per month. It also includes an unfinished basement with a rear exit. It should be suitable for our use with interior additions. It probably won't be available when we get the funding.

New OOTC funding application proposal

Bob Walker came up with a new concept
- A new registered Charity to provide the facilities and the leadership for an OOTC program in Milton
- The Charity to be sponsored initially by St Paul's with the support of other institutions in Milton - churches, service clubs, businesses and individuals
- The charity to have a paid part time director
- The facilities to include a storefront space in one of the new malls
- The space be sufficient to sleep 10 and feed 20 persons
- The space have a kitchen, washrooms, shower, laundry, 2 subdivisions for sleeping men as well as women and children
- The space eventually be used possibly 7 days per week
- The space suitable for satellite ministry
Funding for capital improvements, rent and the director's salary to be provided by Halton Hosuing Funds
- Additional funding be provided by churches, service clubs, businesses, individuals and special fund raisers
- The operation to start small and grow as the need and the competance increases
- Although initially its emphasis would be to provide winter night shelter, it could expand to provide year round facilities for transitioning housing

Friday, June 12, 2009

Emergency meeting on OOTC

I am requesting a short meeting at 9am on Sunday, June 13th to discuss our plan of action for the OOTC project. Room # 302 @ St Paul's is booked. We had about 24 out to the information session on Wed. eve. A few community churches did attend and showed interest in supporting this endevour. Last eve, Bob and I were to an information session re the funding grants from the Region which have stringent deadlines for use of the funds. The deadline for application is July 2nd. We would require our church council to sign the application. The next council meeting is June 22nd. We need to decide if we can address council concerns with another proposal. This is a committee decision. Hope you can attend. Ruth

Grant application

Bob Walker writes that "We had a very good meeting on Wednesday. Many of the concerns previously noted were discussed. It was attended by members of Southside, Boston Presbyterian, Holy Rosary, Nassagaweya Presbyterian and Amnesty International. Most to the visitors offered to be part of a steering committee to make something happen. Two members of St Paul's attended a session by Halton Region concerning making a grant application to advance the program. They will be bringing a motion to the next Council meeting to authorize us to proceed with a grant application. The deadline for submission is July 2"

Homelessness in our Milton Community press release

Members of the Milton community met Wednesday evening for an open discussion forum on the homeless issue in Milton. There is currently no provision in the town for homeless people. Homeless individuals and families are shipped out of Milton to outlying towns as there is no provision for them here. There is acknowledgment that the homeless issue is likely to rise as the population of Milton continues to rise. It is not an issue that can be ignored and does require a coordinated approach by all members of the community and business community.
David Jenkins, coordinator of the All Saint’s Kingsway out of the Cold program in Toronto was able to give his insight to the group from their 14 years of experience in Toronto. Similar Out-of-the-cold programs in Waterloo, Cambridge and Barrie were also described. David commented; “We are truly blessed by the support we receive from volunteers and the local community. Without this support we would not be able to serve the needs of the homeless and most disadvantaged people in our society”.
Paul Gregory from the Halton Region who has worked with these programs for more than 10 years was able to describe the stories behind the people. They are people sometimes well educated, who have fallen on hard times, through illness, injury, break down in families and left with insufficient money to pay for rent and food. Sometimes they are families who may still have some employment income and children and so shipping families outside Milton creates greater issues for children and employees displaced from the school or place of work”. Paul added “The best programs [OOTC] are those that build trust and relationships with people, that was our moto, working among those and trying to build relationships based on trust.”
This week’s community forum did result in an advancement in the process towards establishing an Out-of-the-cold program or Soup Kitchen beginning possibly as early as this winter. The Halton Region has recently posted application for $3million of funding to support affordable housing and homeless issues by the end of 2010. The St Paul’s Mission & Outreach team is calling on other churches, groups and individuals to assist them in developing a program and applying for funding.

Open Forum presentation

Here are David Jenkin's slides from the Open Discussion Forum. The final slides include information about similar programs in Waterloo and Barrie.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

First Milton Open Discussion Forum on OOTC

The first discussion forum on ways to support the homeless in Milton including a possible out-of-the-cold program was attended by 23 members of the local community with an interest in supporting those in greatest need. David Jenkins, Coordinator of the Out-of-the-cold program at All Saints' Kingsway Anglican Church on Bloor Street, Toronto was amongst one of the speakers at the 2.5 hour session. There was a concerted call for action, starting small to gain a greater understanding of the need and within capabilities and managing expectations. There were participants from several churches and other associations around Milton. Paul Gregory from the Region of Halton described two examples of the stories behind the people. he described the key to success as trying to build relationships with these people based on trust. David Jenkins described their 14 years of experince and the support they have received from the local businesses and community. David described how many of these individuals often have their own email accounts and access computers through local libraries to access employment opportunities. Further details of the session will follow on this blog tomorrow and an article will be forwarded to the Canadian Champion paper in Milton.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Open Discussion Forum

Wednesday June 10th @ 7.30pm Graham Hall, St Paul's United Church, 123 Main Street East. It is an Open Discussion Forum on an Out-of-the-cold program in Milton to support the homeless in our community. Everyone is welcome. Coffee and cookies provided!!

Canadian Champion

The Milton Canadian Champion published notice of our Open discussion forum in the dateline of last Friday's paper. Thanks Milton Canadian Champion. We hope someone from the media may attend the meeting and I will create a press release and send photographs of the forum. I am preparing a presentation myself on this blog and the survey we conducted.

Blankets Milton Chapter

The leader of the Blankets Milton Chapter contacted us to offer their support for our Out-of-the-cold program. A chapter of Blankets for Canada has recently started here in Milton. They knit and crochet eight inch square blocks and then join them into blankets. They have been donating the blankets to organizations that help people in need of warmth and shelter. This is wonderful news and motivates us that our message is getting out there.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Open Discussion Forum June 10

Please join us for an Open Discussion Forum on an Out-of-the-cold program in Milton taking place in Graham Hall at St Paul's United Church on Main Street on Wednesday June 10, 2009 starting at 7.30pm. Everyone from the Milton community is welcome. We hope the discussion forum will bring together a number of interested parties, including other churches in Milton. David Jenkins, of All Saints Anglican Church in Etobicoke will make a presentation about their similar program, which has been running successfully for 14 years. There will be a presentation reviewing of this blog and survey conducted in 2008. Paul Gregory, a project manager from the Halton Region is attending as he also has experience of an OOTC program in Toronto. Kathy Sellers urged all St Paul's Council members to attend this information meeting.

Halton Funding release

At a recent meeting of Halton Housing Task Force, it was learned that Halton has access to $3 million for housing projects, if applied for by November 2010. Mission and Outreach, on behalf of the Out-of-the-Cold program, has been encouraged to make an application for seed funding of $10,000 for a facilitator to help start the Out-of-the-Cold project.