Toronto, Ont. – WoodGreen Community Services applauds the Ontario government for committing $425 million over three years to support a range of wellness services, including mental health programs that are community‐led, and to maintain supportive housing and services for people living with mental health and addictions challenges and those transitioning from hospital to the community.
We look forward to receiving further details on how this investment could help WoodGreen expand our community mental health and addictions programs, such as our Toronto Seniors Helpline, which provides telephone-based service navigation and crisis de-escalation for older adults, seniors and caregivers and is currently in need of expansion funding to become a 24-hour line. The Crisis Outreach Services for Seniors (COSS), which provides on-call crisis intervention and outreach for older adults (65+) with dementia, addictions or mental health crises and our Walk-in Counselling services with same-day psychotherapy for adults and youth are also in need of expansion.
WoodGreen is also pleased to see the government is doing more to ensure there is support for vulnerable populations to find employment, giving an additional $75 million over the next three years towards the Skills Development Fund.
However, WoodGreen is discouraged to see that the budget did not provide additional investment into community care programs such as assisted living services. WoodGreen, prior to the release of the budget, made recommendations to the province for a sector-wide investment of an additional $182 million for non-profit community support services.
Budget 2022 gave $100 million in additional funding over three years to expand community care programs. However, WoodGreen has made it clear that more is needed to help expand high demand services.
The province has signaled that they support initiatives that will reduce the number of ALC patients and alleviate pressure off hospitals. However, they have not given any additional funding in today’s budget to support community care and assisted living services that help achieve that goal.
Models such as WoodGreen’s Cluster Care provide seniors, including alternate-level care clients, with a shared living space and 24-hour PSW-assisted living services. The model is incredibly cost-effective with an average cost per bed of $95 per day, in comparison to long-term care’s $201 average cost per bed per day. Given there is a growing number of patients occupying acute care settings that do not require it, this model is important as it provides an additional option of care. WoodGreen has actively called for additional sector investment so services such as cluster care can be supported and expanded.
WoodGreen will continue to call on the government to support community care services for vulnerable members of our society and urges the government to reconsider additional investment to the sector.
“With additional investment in community care, organizations like WoodGreen can expand programs and care models that are very cost effective to the health system,” said Dorothy Quon, WoodGreen’s Vice President of Community Care (Seniors and Health Services). “However, this is not possible unless the government prioritizes community care programs. We are disappointed that they did not recognize the value of community care and how it’s services help keep clients safely housed, alleviating pressure off hospitals, and reducing the number of patients waiting for alternate care settings.”
ABOUT WOODGREEN COMMUNITY SERVICES (woodgreen.org): WoodGreen is one of the largest social service agencies in Toronto, serving 37,000 people each year. We offer over 75 programs and services tackling the social determinants that affect the health and well-being of individuals in our community.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Tureisha Hamlet, Manager, Public Relations & Corporate Communications; [email protected] (416) 277-2672 (cell)