The Kenora District Services Board is working with the Kenora Chiefs Advisory and the Ne-Chee Friendship Centre to support low-risk people in the community, while awaiting their criminal trials. .
KDSB Chief Administrative Officer, Henry Wall, said they found that over 70 per cent of the time bail violations could have been prevented.
“That became the focus. In order to reduce policing costs in the city, ensure that people are not set up to fail and end up on the streets, and to ensure that we’re starting to reduce the cost of social services, we needed a proper program. A program that was focused on housing, that was very much purpose built, but also to ensure that the proper supports were there,” he said.
The solution was to take over the Northland Supportive Housing facility and develop a new bail bed program in Kenora.
The KDSB took over the facility in August, and immediately did a building condition assessment. The assessment found that the building, which is over 100 years old, is in complete disrepair and needs to be replaced.
A new building is being planned for a piece of property located in the area of Pine Portage Road and Hwy 17E. But in the mean time the programming is still being run out of the old Northland building in downtown Kenora.
The programming received a comprehensive overhaul and is now known as Kenora’s Bail Residency Program and is administered by the Ne-Chee Friendship Centre. The Kenora Chiefs Advisory is on-site Monday through Friday to provide Mental Health and Addictions programs and supports to participants of the program.
“It is fully staffed around the clock. The program really acts like a supportive housing program,” he said.
He said it’s just a small piece of a long term plan to help combat homelessness and poverty in the community.
“To ensure we’re setting up everyone in the community for success, and that we’re not setting them up to fail,” he said.