The problem of homelessness may look different in Clearview Township than in neighbouring Simcoe County municipalities, but it does exist according to Mayor Doug Measures.
Measures recently told Clearview Council that as one of the smaller municipalities in the county and one which is largely agricultural, we do not have a highly visible homeless population. However, surveys prove that there is a significant number ofpeople in our community who are relegated to “couch surfing”.
Measures says funding from the county to the shelter system directly supports a City of Barrie initiative, but notes that as the largest municipality in the county, Barrie is a magnet for the homeless. County councillors voted at their Aug. 9 meeting to support a plan to establish a facility with 50 shelter beds on the former site of the Barrie OPP detachment at 20 Rose St.
Greg Bishop, the county’s general manager of social services says the proposed building will be modular. It could potentially be taken down and moved to another location in the future, or converted to supportive or transitional housing.
The county purchased the land several years ago with the intention of building supportive housing in the coming years but with the motel housing program instituted during the pandemic coming to an end there was a need to move quickly. Construction will start as soon as possible with a target completion date of this November.
Bishop says that of the 223 available shelter spots in Simcoe County there were 49 beds unoccupied as of Aug. 8. Shelter demand is historically lower in August as many people experiencing homelessness elect to sleep outdoors but when colder weather returns in the fall, demand will increase.