The first phase of Northern Pines, a 24/7 collection of services that address the needs of vulnerable homeless individuals in the area, is officially open.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the 16 medium-level support units on Chippewa Street, which are already in use.
Phase 2 will see an additional 20 units requiring a low-level of supports, and is expected to be completed in the next few weeks.
Phase 3, which is scheduled to open later this year, offers another 24 units with a high level of support.
“This really is all about collaboration. It started at the Mayor’s Action Table where the ideas were generated and a request for funding was made,” says Vic Fedeli, MPP for Nipissing. “Our small role was to ensure the funding was delivered to Nipissing and here we are with the great work of the District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board (DNSSAB).”
Mark King, chair of DNSSAB, says as a city councillor the city is important to him and this project means quite a bit.
“To watch people that are homeless on the street knowing full well there is a way to fix it, it’s very discouraging. It took a lot longer than I thought to get to this point, but I know it’s going to make a major difference in the city,” he says.
Fedeli also announced over $1.4 million from the Skills Development Fund to support access into the labour market for individuals seeking employment within the early years and child care sector.
The money will also support employers in this sector that have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with recruitment efforts and
help create a stable workforce.
“Today’s announcement is in addition to the over $12 million Social Service Relief Funding that DNSSAB has received from the Ontario government since April 2020,” says Fedeli. “This funding has helped keep vulnerable people housed and create long-term housing solutions.”
All three phases of the Northern Pines project cost $6.5 million to build.