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North Durham fighting against homelessness

COURTNEY McCLURE, for The Standard

NORTH DURHAM: Did you know North Durham does not have any homeless shelters?

When you’re talking to someone facing homelessness, usually that individual doesn’t have access to reliable transportation. So how do they get to Oshawa or Ajax, where there are homeless shelters?

“The biggest thing is, we don’t have that support system here in the North for people,” explained the Executive Director of North House, Mona Emond.

North House is a facility in Uxbridge. It was created because many people in the North Durham community noticed an increase in ‘hidden homelessness’.

Hidden homelessness refers to people who don’t have a permanent place to call home. Typically, people facing this type of homelessness move between friends’ homes or couch-surf.

North House offers programs to help people get back on their feet. These programs include the Housing Stability program, the Ontario Electricity Support program, and other types of assistance.

If someone lost their job or couldn’t pay their rent, they could come to North House and access one of their programs. In this instance, the Housing Stability program would come into play.

A person who is unable to pay rent could visit North House for assistance. Ms. Emond gave the example of being behind on rent. Say your rent is $800 a month, and you were $1,600 behind in rental payments. North House can help you get access to that amount of funds to pay off your rent. In this example, North House wants to help you keep your existing relationship with your landlord and help you get back on your feet.

“Our job is to keep you in the home you’re already in. It’s not to get you into something new,” Ms. Emond explained, referring to North House’s Housing Stability program.

According to Ms. Emond, there’s not enough affordable housing available for people in North Durham. So, they try to keep people in the homes they are already living in.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, North House has noticed, people in North Durham have had to sell their properties. For example, if a family owns two properties, they have sold one because they cannot afford to keep it.

Ms. Emond said, this means many people are getting evicted from their homes because Covid is forcing landlords to sell their properties.

The staff at North House helps people in Uxbridge, Brock and Scugog township.

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