Busby Centre First To Benefit From New Fund Created By Barrie City Council

New Community Facility Improvement Reserve to Provide $200,000

The David Busby Street Centre is $200,000 closer to completing a much-needed expansion.

A new source of funding created at Barrie City Hall Monday night will first benefit the Busby Centre’s expansion project, but will go on to support local not-for-profits in the future. The Community Facility Improvement Reserve was on Monday approved by council, a source of one-time capital funding for charitable organizations in the city.

City staff will look for ways of topping up this Reserve as time goes by, capping it at $300,000. The Reserve came about as a direct motion put on the floor by Ward 4 Councillor Barry Ward. “It’s a creative way of creating this fund, because to deal with these kinds of requests in the future, it won’t come from tax dollars, it’ll come from bonusing money.”

The Reserve got an initial $200,000 which will now go towards the Busby’s expansion project; the David Busby Street Centre in June began construction to expand its 88 Mulcaster Street location. The project doubles the current space to 6,000 sq/ft which would allow for more kitchen facilities, and health care, counselling, and housing support services.

Sara Peddle, Executive Director of the David Busby Street Centre says Simcoe County is experiencing a homelessness crisis, adding Barrie makes up the lion’s share at 49% or 305 people. “one hundred and forty-eight of that 305 were experiencing chronic homelessness. So by federal definitions, that means they have experienced homelessness for more than six months consecutively.”

A Presentation at Barrie City Hall Monday night shows 12% of those experiencing homelessness in 2018 went unsheltered

The $200,000 provided by the newly created Reserve, along with matched capital funding, will represent the last of the monies needed to finish the $920,000 project. Phase one began in 2014. A Trillium Fund grant and money from the County made up the bulk of the money already raised, while Peddle says the community stepped up. “It is a healthy recipe to government and the community to come together to get the doors open.”

A summary of funding for the expansion, as presented at council Monday evening.

The added space would also be used for the Emergency Group Lodging program, something previously offered by Barrie Out of the Cold. The Out of the Cold program merged with the David Busby Street Centre earlier this year, after operating out of local churches for about 20 years. “With that, we had to get going, our construction plans were set…” says Peddle “and it’s very close to being finished.”

The money comes with a caveat that the David Busby Street Centre provide updates on how the funds are used.