Although I'm not on Durham Region Council I like to keep up on some of the issues. At today's meeting, among the many items on the Agenda I happened to find 4 motions that were approved of special interest.
3 of the motions concerned responses to mental health crisis, security and supportive housing issues, and 1 motion was to initiate a 311 service support system.
The first, "Motion to Investigate Non-Police-Led Crisis Response Team in Durham Region", was moved by Ajax Mayor Collier and seconded by Oshawa Mayor Carter. They said it is not about defunding the police but about reviewing best practices and what changes may be to improve service and support for those crisis situations involving mental health issues.
It is a plan is to see if there is an opportunity to expand processes and have 24/7 mobile crisis response teams to include mental health specialists. With Durham Region's 700,000+ population, considering that 1 in 4 people today suffer from mental health and addiction, the Region will look to find savings within the police budget that would provide money to be directed to investments and enhancements that could achieve better results for mental health calls. Services and programs need to be put in place concerning the complexities and challenges police face today.
The second Motion was to add pre-budget funding for 3 mental health nurses:
The third motion was for Expedited Supportive Housing Development, involving 50 modular units to be built at 133 Main Street in Beaverton, Brock Township and 10 micro units in Oshawa. Commissioner of Social Services Stella Danos-Constantinou said they will be looking to hire consultants for these transitional and micro home supportive housing projects. They will have medical support, congregate dining, social events, self-contained units...two important programs!
The artistic rendering of modular housing complex at the top of this post is taken from the article about the City of Toronto's 2020 plan to build 250 modular units for supportive housing. The Region is planning to sole source the same construction company for the design, delivery and installation of the 50 modular affordable supportive housing rental units. www.blogto.com/real-estate-toronto/2020/06/toronto-releases-locations-modular-homes/?fbclid=IwAR1biOilh-w7jnwIdqrEgGw4JmTmK36SjrSfm5PiqDk96ckkNsvix5V1vRs
The 4th motion I am highlighting was on the Region spending $10 Million to initiate 311 customer service program. The pre-budget approval was approved by all Councillors attending, except Councillors Joe and John Neal.
"That the proposed myDurham 311, which will modernize the way in which the Region engages with its customers, combining public facing services and customer service strategy into one enterprise program at a total estimated project cost of $10 million over 2020-2023, be endorsed for implementation, subject to approval through the Region’s Business Planning and Budget Process in future years;
B) That 2021 pre-budget approval be granted and funding in the amount of $1,750,000 for the first year of implementation of the unbudgeted myDurham 311 in 2020 be provided from the Innovation and Modernization Initiatives Reserve Fund, as established for such initiatives; and
C) That the Commissioner of Finance be authorized to execute any required agreements necessary to move the project forward as approved by the myDurham 311 Steering Committee following the existing Budget Management Policy and Purchasing By-Law requirements."
For more details on this, here is a link to the 9 page staff report icreate7.esolutionsgroup.ca/11111068_DurhamRegion/en/regional-government/resources/Documents/Council/Reports/2020-Committee-Reports/Finance-and-Administration/2020-A-16.pdf