NEWMARKET - York Regional Council today reviewed the 2011 accomplishments of the Human Services Planning Board of York Region (HSPB-YR), including the submission of 60 actions by member organizations to help support low and moderate income residents Make Ends Meet in York Region.
“The Human Services Planning Board of York Region has made great strides over the past year to create positive change in the areas of affordable housing and economic self-sufficiency,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch. “No one organization can achieve these goals alone. It will continue to take the collaborative efforts of many to find innovative solutions for those struggling financially in York Region.”
Over the past year, HSPB-YR member organizations examined their current business practices and processes to see where changes could be made to make a difference in the lives of low and moderate income residents. Using this process, member organizations identified 60 commitments to action. Some examples include:
• York Regional Police ??" Explore the development of an at-risk teen mentoring program to teach youth about social responsibility and provide skills and experience to enter a trade
• Welcome Centre Immigrant Services ??" Seek additional housing services to help newcomers find and secure stable, affordable and safe housing
• York Region Community and Health Services ??" Increase participation for low and moderate income residents to obtain Food Handler Certification at no cost to increase access to employment
• Women’s Centre of York Region ??" Create more outreach activities to help low-income clients find housing
• Canadian Mental Health Association ??" Start a job club/support group for clients who are employed to assist them in maintaining employment
• York Region District School Board and York Catholic District School Board ??" Review policies on school fees and fundraising to ensure all students can participate in school opportunities and increase economic independence
“The Board continues its journey in creating community awareness of the importance of helping low and moderate income residents Make Ends Meet,” said Town of Markham Deputy Mayor Jack Heath, Chair of York Region’s Community and Health Services Committee. “Clearly identified actions will help the HSPB-YR move forward in addressing the growing gap between household income and the high cost of living and help residents meet basic needs such as employment, food and transportation.”
In addition to the 60 individual actions submitted by the member organizations, the HSPB-YR has identified eight collective actions to guide the group’s efforts. The Board went straight to work on two of the eight actions in 2012, hosting a community consultation on the Social Assistance Review Commission’s Discussion Paper in March and creating plans to host a Housing Affordability Symposium in June.
Other elements captured within the HSPB-YR eight collective actions encompass employment skills mentoring, funding and advocacy, improving social infrastructure, providing financial literacy tools and ensuring fair access to school recreation and cultural programs.
“The work achieved by the HSPB-YR to date, and the many actions and initiatives in store for the coming year have built a strong foundation to move our community vision forward,” said Town of Newmarket Regional Councillor John Taylor, Co-Chair of the HSPB-YR. “Success will depend on the ongoing efforts and contributions of the entire human services sector and broader community.”
“To make a difference and to create community change, we will need to continually look at the work we do through the lens of Making Ends Meet,” said York Catholic District School Board Director of Education Susan La Rosa, Co-Chair of the HSPB-YR. “Through the work and leadership of the HSPB-YR, new opportunities for collaboration and advocacy have been made possible. Moving forward, the Board will continue to build partnerships and change the way we currently do business.”
The Human Services Planning Board of York Region is comprised of 24 leaders and decision-makers from the Region’s hospitals, school boards and police department, as well as individuals from human services organizations and networks, community leaders and senior levels of government.
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca
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