Homelessness, mental health and addictions were the focus of discussions between three northern groups and the province this week. 

The Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM), the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA) and the Northern Ontario Service Deliverers Association (NOSDA) met with six provincial ministers at the virtual Rural Ontario Municipalities Association conference. 

“Having the three organizations coming together with over 20 individuals represented on the call shows just how important this is and the need to address these issues in the north,” says Danny Whalen, FONOM President. 

A research paper, titled “Solving the Homelessness, Mental Health and Addictions Crisis in the North” was shared with the province.  

The paper, written by the Northern Policy Institute, has eight recommendations.  

Among others, they include establishing a ‘Northern Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence’, long-term funding for community-housing repairs, supporting new and existing housing programs and establishing mandated Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams across the region.  

In a release, the three organizations say they shared experiences from their own communities “to paint a picture of what the mental health, addictions, and homelessness crisis looks like” and how it is affecting people in every community across northern Ontario.