Mina-Fayez Bahgat admits he’s no expert when it comes to mental health and addiction services.
But the Manager for Waterloo Region Housing is pleased with the partnership with the Waterloo-Wellington Local Health Integration Network to get those experts to the people who need it most.
An additional $306,240 is coming from the local LHIN to reduce the risk of homelessness for those in the community, by giving them a better chance to succeed.
It’s an expansion on a pilot project established last year, which currently supports 16 people. The new dollars will allow them to take on another 20 people.
And Bahgat says the support runs deeper than that, noting they’re “supporting the broader community, which will represent another 80 units” doing community and group activities.
He says the big thing here is that mental health workers will be on-site at their two locations in Kitchener and Cambridge.
“Because having (an) on-site agency presence here, and more and more community partners active in the community, you have a larger and broader impact on even those who might not need daily support or weekly support,” he said, “From time to time, may be loneliness sets in and they want to say hi or hello.”
“There’s someone actually in the building that they can speak to.”
He says they’ve also partnered with Wilfrid Laurier University’s Masters in Social Work program by offering work placements on a rotating basis.
They’ll help manage the community hub space.
It’s also about providing a safe space for people to come in and access professionals for many things, not just mental health and addictions.
“It’s life skill building, it’s making meaningful connections, having a sense of belonging,” Bahgat says, “All the things that you would need, me or you or anyone would need, to be able to live successfully, independently.”