Finding jobs a critical element of the homeless strategy


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St. Thomas has been allocated close to $917,000 in funding under the province’s Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI) for the period April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015.
How the city spends that money will be addressed at Monday’s council meeting.
According to the report to council, “CHPI is intended to provide better coordinated and integrated service delivery to prevent, reduce, and address homelessness with a focus on two key outcomes.”
That would be helping the homeless obtain and retain housing while ensuring those who are at risk of homelessness remain housed.
Those are great priorites but we’re missing the mark in one key area, points out homeless advocate Jason McComb, who met with Elgin-Middlesex-London MP Joe Preston and MPP Jeff Yurek on Tuesday to stress the need to get the homeless back contributing to society.
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October is a good month for pruning


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Progressive by nature is a catchy marketing slogan employed by the County of Elgin that, unfortunately, is not readily applicable to all members of St. Thomas council.
That was painfully evident Monday when a motion to allow internet voting during a portion of the advance polling period in the October municipal election was defeated on a 4-4 vote.
Aldermen Cliff Barwick, Tom Johnston, Gord Campbell and Dave Warden presented some of the flimsiest arguments possible to maintain the status quo, i.e. the traditional paper ballot.
Had this been evidence in a court case it would have been dismissed as not germane.
The concern seniors would not vote because they prefer the traditional ballot over computer voting is a smoke screen since the paper ballot would remain as the primary method of casting one’s vote.
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Should we still use a pencil or can we now click here?


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In the last municipal vote, a paltry 39% of eligible voters bothered to cast their ballot in what proved to be a bitter mayoral showdown.
The anybody-but-Barwick election of 2010 should have been motivation enough to flood the polling booths after one of the nastiest campaigns in many years.
But, when little more than a third of voters participate, you know the system is broken, or worse, irrelevant.
Is it a case of constituents who are so weary of lies and deception at all levels of government?
Do young people — especially those voting for the first time — feel politicians of all stripes are not reaching out to them?
Or, is it overall apathy on the part of voters who have given up at having their concerns dealt with?
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Who is in and who has suffered enough


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With the very distinct possibility we’ll undertake a couple of trips to the polls in 2014, the wind and water are coming together for what should prove to be an entertaining year in the council chamber at city hall.
Thursday was the first day nomination papers could be filed for the Oct. 27 municipal vote and, to the best of our knowledge, no sitting member of council has taken the first step on the road to re-election.
So, let’s do a little armchair quarterbacking and go around the horseshoe and speculate on who is going to do what this year.
Starting at the top, Mayor Heather Jackson will certainly seek a second term at the helm. Will she retain her voter base and has she managed to gain the confidence of a significant number of ratepayers who shied away from her in 2010?
There is a good possibility she will be in at least a three-horse race; has she the stamina and resources to fend off challengers?
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