Residents of Prescott and Russell counties who need social housing face an average wait of five years.
According to United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) Manager of Housing Services Alain Lacelle, even though the average wait is five years, the time may vary depending on location and if the client has priority status such as if they are a victim of domestic violence.
Social housing is owned and operated by the UCPR for the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Lacelle explained that like many other rural jurisdictions, the UCPR does not give priority status to homeless people in need of social housing. However, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has established a By-Name List program where social housing managers across the province have been directed to enumerate all homeless people who want social housing and other social services, and their specific needs.
“The goal is to provide as many resources as possible to those registered on the By-Name List,” Lacelle said.
The initiative is intended to standardize procedures and methods for connecting homeless people with services.
As of December 2021, there were 739 UCPR residents living in social housing, according to the last report from the Department of Social Services. Out of that amount, 152 residents were living in senior citizen housing units and 587 residents were living in family social housing units.
There were 1,144 people waiting for UCPR social housing as of the Department of Social Services last report in December 2021 and 1,313 people were waiting for non-profit housing.