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City of Windsor set to expand 311 services

The City of Windsor is set to expand its 311 service to help support residents and businesses who come across issues affected by homelessness.

“I have no problem with people calling me, but I'd like to eliminate the middle man,” said Ward 3 Coun. Renaldo Agostino whose phone rings often with concerns and inquiries involving homelessness.

“The community has really a misunderstanding of who to call, when to call, what number to call.”

Another business reached out to him Wednesday morning asking for guidance on how to deal with people in an alley behind their business.

They’ll soon have a dedicated number to call.

“If someone needs help or you need help as a business or a resident now it's gonna be streamlined. It's gonna be one-stop shop,” Agostino said.

For issues regarding homelessness or mental health, residents will soon be able to call the city's 311 service.

“If you see anyone experiencing homelessness, if you see some encampments being set up this is where you would use that line. Call 311,” said Andrew Daher, commissioner, human and health services for the city.

People can also connect through the 311 mobile app. The service includes a partnership with Family Services Windsor-Essex.

“What we want to make sure is that our businesses and residents feel supported and that they know they can make one simple call to 311 and we're gonna be able to send an outreach worker out to continue to engage with people,” said executive director Joyce Zuk.

Agostino added, “getting more people the help they need, helping residents and businesses and of course alleviating some of the pressure from the police force which is another big part of this.”

According to the city, the new system is expected to be up and running in the next couple of weeks and should be treated as helpline and not a complaint line.

“I don't want to create a false hope that this is going to resolve the issue of homelessness.” Zuk warned. “This morning at standing committee councillor (Fabio) Costante made an excellent comment. The solution is housing with supports but this is an important step.”

The service will be available on weekends with outreach workers going until around midnight instead of the traditional 4:30-5 p.m. closing time.

The idea came from feedback received from Windsor Police Service data collected from the Nurse-Police team.

“We want to make sure we're expanding the hours of service that we're able to provide a connection to people when people are out there and perhaps when folks need the most help.” Zuk said. Top Stories

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