ECHO- Ontario to Support New, Permanent Shelter Facility in St. Thomas

Published on October 30, 2020

ST. THOMAS – The Ontario government is providing municipalities and Indigenous community partners with over $241 million to help protect the province’s most vulnerable from COVID-19, including those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.


This week, Jeff Yurek, MPP announced that the City of St. Thomas is receiving $927,831.00 in Special Services Relief Funding, which includes capital funding to support the purchase of a new building for a permanent emergency shelter.


“It has never been more critical that our most vulnerable neighbours in St. Thomas have access to safe and warm shelter,” said MPP Yurek. “This new, permanent shelter will be a stable facility from which dedicated local service providers can continue to carry out their important, lifesaving work.”


“So much good happens when we all work together. Shelter and housing in St. Thomas are so very important,” said City of St. Thomas Mayor Joe Preston. “This announcement and recognition by our great partners at the Province of Ontario, especially our own Minister Yurek, will create a better housing environment.”


“Inn Out of the Cold St. Thomas-Elgin is thrilled with the announcement by the Provincial government to provide funding towards a permanent emergency shelter,” said Lori Fitzgerald, Executive Director of Inn out of the Cold. “During COVID it has become very apparent that expanded services for those experiencing homelessness in our community is a vital need. We are excited by the response of the Province and the City to support our most vulnerable.”


“The St. Thomas Police Service is ecstatic to learn that the City of St. Thomas has received funding to create a permanent emergency shelter for our most vulnerable people,” said Chief Chris Herridge. “This shelter will provide protection and safety to those who need it most. Our service will continue to work with our strong community partners to ensure the protection and safety for all who live and visit our City.”


The provincial funding is part of the government’s $510 million investment to help protect the health and safety of the province’s most vulnerable people. Funding will be delivered through the Social Services Relief Fund and will go towards protecting and supporting homeless shelter staff and residents, creating or renovating over 1,500 housing units, expanding rent support programs and creating longer-term housing solutions.


“We know that our municipal and Indigenous partners are facing extraordinary challenges, which is why these significant investments are so important,” said Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark. “Our investments are helping to build longer term solutions as well as meet ongoing, immediate needs related to COVID-19.”


The Social Services Relief Fund is part of the up to $4 billion being provided to Ontario municipalities under the federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement. It will help municipalities protect the health and well-being of the people of Ontario while delivering critical public services, such as public transit and shelters, as the province continues down the path of economic recovery.



  • In March, Ontario launched the Social Services Relief Fund with an initial $148 million investmentto help protect the health and safety of the province’s most vulnerable people in response to the outbreak of COVID-19. In July, an additional $150 million was committed to help improve shelters and create opportunities for longer-term housing. In August, Ontario committed another $212 million in funding, bringing the government’s assistance to service managers and Indigenous program administrators to $510 million.
  • Ontario’s service managers and Indigenous program administrators help provide shelter or housing for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, victims of domestic violence, and members of Indigenous communities who are in need.
  • In September, the Ontario government passed the Helping Tenants and Small Businesses Act, which freezes rent in 2021 for the vast majority of Ontario’s 1.7 million renters in both rent-controlled and non-rent-controlled residential units.