KAWARTHA LAKES-Everyone needs a place to call home and this year more kids than ever will be calling the homeless shelter in Lindsay “home” for Christmas.
Shelter officials told Kawartha 411 News they will have ten kids, a family with five kids, a family with three kids and two ten year olds at the shelter this Christmas.
“Sometimes we will have one or two kids, family with a single child, I’ve even had a Christmas where it’s only been me and one teenage girl and nobody else.” staff says.
Ten kids will be spending Christmas in a homeless shelter in Kawartha Lakes this year.
“It’s sad but the kids have no idea. The kids even in the summer months when they are here if there’s other kids they have a great time. They really get spoiled, but it’s harder on the parents.” explains shelter staff.
Staff say many landlords don’t want to rent to large families or families with pets and the rental inventory is very low at the moment in Kawartha Lakes.
The Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit estimates 13.1 % of Kawartha Lakes residents live in poverty with the poverty rate for children 17 years of age and younger at almost 17%.
Officials say high housing costs and a limited supply of rental units are proving a double whammy in efforts to ensure Kawartha Lakes residents have access to a stable, secure place to call home.
The average price for a house in Lindsay is $433,881, according to the November 2019 Multiple Listing Service (MLS) housing report. Rent for a three-bedroom apartment is more than $1,450 per month in City of Kawartha Lakes– if you can find it. With a very low vacancy rate at less than one per cent, there are not enough rental units to meet local demand (Source: 2019 Housing and Homelessness Assessment Report for Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton County).
“These findings are worrisome because they highlight the lack of affordable housing in the City of Kawartha Lakes – both to buy and rent – and the toll it can take on people’s health,” says Mary Lou Mills, a Public Health Nurse with the local Health Unit.
“A stable living environment is so important for our health, because without it, we fall into a vicious cycle of problems,” Mills adds. “If people do not have adequate housing, they are less likely to be able to find work and earn money. Without enough income, people cannot afford food and other necessities of life which are essential for personal wellbeing.”
In 2015, there were almost 2000 requests for financial assistance from those who are homeless or on the brink of homelessness in the City of Kawartha Lakes and there were more than 1000 households waiting for social or affordable housing in the City of Kawartha Lakes.
A Place Called Home has 19 beds and serves a large area including Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton. The shelter assists individuals and families with programs intended to prevent eviction from their primary residence, avoid disconnection of an essential utility, replace a crucial piece of identification, talk out a problem to find a solution and reduce the incidence of homelessness in the City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton County. While the core shelter program is the safety net for people who have lost their home, prevention programs are designed to be a cushion before a crisis leads to homelessness and allows people to stay in their homes when possible.
The shelter is taking donations. For more information click here:http:http://www.apch.ca/how-you-can-help/