Dundas's Ellen Osler Home hopes to expand

News Jan 14, 2019 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

Ellen Osler Home in Dundas hopes to expand the number of spaces it can offer to help reintegrate women released from jail into the community. At the same time, the federal department responsible was recently criticized for its lack of a plan to deal with growing housing pressures and a lack of spaces.

The 34 Hatt St. facility, operated by the Salvation Army under a year-to-year contract with Correctional Service Canada (CSC), hoped last year to add to those 11 contracted beds using space owned by a local church. A review of that option took place between early 2017 and early 2018 with St. Paul’s United Church before renovating the space was determined to be cost prohibitive.

Now Ellen Osler executive director Rene van der Meijden, who took over the position in July, is in the early stages of reviewing the possibility of expanding on the home’s existing property. He said the target is four or five additional spaces.

“Currently there is talk about the need of an expansion,” van der Meijden said. “This is very preliminary. We are looking at it. We need to expand a little bit.”

He’ll get feedback from an architect to help determine what might be possible on the site of the 110-year-old undesignated building, before talking to the City of Hamilton.

The ongoing effort began, and continues, through a period of pressure on CSC to respond to growing demand for halfway house residential space — particularly for women.

There is currently a total of 46 CSC contracted community residential facility or halfway house spaces for women in six Ontario facilities. Ellen Osler home accounts for almost 25 per cent of the spaces in Ontario today. There were 199 female offenders under some sort of CSC community supervision during the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

Canada’s auditor general released a report on CSC community supervision in November 2018, and found “Correctional Service Canada could not find space in a timely manner for many offenders who should have been released into community supervision.”

The report stated CSC had no long-term plan to meet the growing demand for community housing for offenders ready to be released.

“We concluded (CSC) did not provide enough community housing to offenders … to ensure their successful reintegration as law-abiding citizens,” the report stated.

The auditor general’s report found the number of offenders released into community supervision had grown and was expected to keep growing. The highest anticipated increase is in Ontario at 32 per cent.

According to the report, research shows a gradual supervised release gives offenders a better chance of successful reintegration.

Despite these findings, CSC spokesperson Justine Lewis said last week the department was not aware of Ellen Osler Home’s ongoing effort to expand from 11 spaces for women to as many as 16 spaces.

The auditor general recommended CSC take a proactive, long-term approach to accommodation in community-based residential facilities, ensuring its accommodation space is of the right type, in the right location and available at the right time.

Corrections representatives will be called to an upcoming meeting of the public accounts committee to answer questions from members of Parliament about the issues raised in the auditor general’s report. A hearing date has not been set.

“Yes, a need has been identified for more community residential spaces for women,” Lewis said, but she directed any questions about possible expansion efforts back to Ellen Osler Home itself.

CSC did not provide details of any expansion goals, policy or procedure before deadline.

“There’s a desire for more beds, because it works,” van der Meijden said of the successful program at Ellen Osler Home. “It lowers the percentage of people who reoffend.

“There’s increased demand. There’s always demand. We’re always full.”

 

Dundas's Ellen Osler Home hopes to expand

Correctional Service has no plan to address growing need for space

News Jan 14, 2019 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

Ellen Osler Home in Dundas hopes to expand the number of spaces it can offer to help reintegrate women released from jail into the community. At the same time, the federal department responsible was recently criticized for its lack of a plan to deal with growing housing pressures and a lack of spaces.

The 34 Hatt St. facility, operated by the Salvation Army under a year-to-year contract with Correctional Service Canada (CSC), hoped last year to add to those 11 contracted beds using space owned by a local church. A review of that option took place between early 2017 and early 2018 with St. Paul’s United Church before renovating the space was determined to be cost prohibitive.

Now Ellen Osler executive director Rene van der Meijden, who took over the position in July, is in the early stages of reviewing the possibility of expanding on the home’s existing property. He said the target is four or five additional spaces.

“Currently there is talk about the need of an expansion,” van der Meijden said. “This is very preliminary. We are looking at it. We need to expand a little bit.”

“There’s increased demand. There’s always demand. We’re always full.”
Rene van der Meijden

He’ll get feedback from an architect to help determine what might be possible on the site of the 110-year-old undesignated building, before talking to the City of Hamilton.

The ongoing effort began, and continues, through a period of pressure on CSC to respond to growing demand for halfway house residential space — particularly for women.

There is currently a total of 46 CSC contracted community residential facility or halfway house spaces for women in six Ontario facilities. Ellen Osler home accounts for almost 25 per cent of the spaces in Ontario today. There were 199 female offenders under some sort of CSC community supervision during the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

Canada’s auditor general released a report on CSC community supervision in November 2018, and found “Correctional Service Canada could not find space in a timely manner for many offenders who should have been released into community supervision.”

The report stated CSC had no long-term plan to meet the growing demand for community housing for offenders ready to be released.

“We concluded (CSC) did not provide enough community housing to offenders … to ensure their successful reintegration as law-abiding citizens,” the report stated.

The auditor general’s report found the number of offenders released into community supervision had grown and was expected to keep growing. The highest anticipated increase is in Ontario at 32 per cent.

According to the report, research shows a gradual supervised release gives offenders a better chance of successful reintegration.

Despite these findings, CSC spokesperson Justine Lewis said last week the department was not aware of Ellen Osler Home’s ongoing effort to expand from 11 spaces for women to as many as 16 spaces.

The auditor general recommended CSC take a proactive, long-term approach to accommodation in community-based residential facilities, ensuring its accommodation space is of the right type, in the right location and available at the right time.

Corrections representatives will be called to an upcoming meeting of the public accounts committee to answer questions from members of Parliament about the issues raised in the auditor general’s report. A hearing date has not been set.

“Yes, a need has been identified for more community residential spaces for women,” Lewis said, but she directed any questions about possible expansion efforts back to Ellen Osler Home itself.

CSC did not provide details of any expansion goals, policy or procedure before deadline.

“There’s a desire for more beds, because it works,” van der Meijden said of the successful program at Ellen Osler Home. “It lowers the percentage of people who reoffend.

“There’s increased demand. There’s always demand. We’re always full.”

 

Dundas's Ellen Osler Home hopes to expand

Correctional Service has no plan to address growing need for space

News Jan 14, 2019 by Craig Campbell Dundas Star News

Ellen Osler Home in Dundas hopes to expand the number of spaces it can offer to help reintegrate women released from jail into the community. At the same time, the federal department responsible was recently criticized for its lack of a plan to deal with growing housing pressures and a lack of spaces.

The 34 Hatt St. facility, operated by the Salvation Army under a year-to-year contract with Correctional Service Canada (CSC), hoped last year to add to those 11 contracted beds using space owned by a local church. A review of that option took place between early 2017 and early 2018 with St. Paul’s United Church before renovating the space was determined to be cost prohibitive.

Now Ellen Osler executive director Rene van der Meijden, who took over the position in July, is in the early stages of reviewing the possibility of expanding on the home’s existing property. He said the target is four or five additional spaces.

“Currently there is talk about the need of an expansion,” van der Meijden said. “This is very preliminary. We are looking at it. We need to expand a little bit.”

“There’s increased demand. There’s always demand. We’re always full.”
Rene van der Meijden

He’ll get feedback from an architect to help determine what might be possible on the site of the 110-year-old undesignated building, before talking to the City of Hamilton.

The ongoing effort began, and continues, through a period of pressure on CSC to respond to growing demand for halfway house residential space — particularly for women.

There is currently a total of 46 CSC contracted community residential facility or halfway house spaces for women in six Ontario facilities. Ellen Osler home accounts for almost 25 per cent of the spaces in Ontario today. There were 199 female offenders under some sort of CSC community supervision during the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

Canada’s auditor general released a report on CSC community supervision in November 2018, and found “Correctional Service Canada could not find space in a timely manner for many offenders who should have been released into community supervision.”

The report stated CSC had no long-term plan to meet the growing demand for community housing for offenders ready to be released.

“We concluded (CSC) did not provide enough community housing to offenders … to ensure their successful reintegration as law-abiding citizens,” the report stated.

The auditor general’s report found the number of offenders released into community supervision had grown and was expected to keep growing. The highest anticipated increase is in Ontario at 32 per cent.

According to the report, research shows a gradual supervised release gives offenders a better chance of successful reintegration.

Despite these findings, CSC spokesperson Justine Lewis said last week the department was not aware of Ellen Osler Home’s ongoing effort to expand from 11 spaces for women to as many as 16 spaces.

The auditor general recommended CSC take a proactive, long-term approach to accommodation in community-based residential facilities, ensuring its accommodation space is of the right type, in the right location and available at the right time.

Corrections representatives will be called to an upcoming meeting of the public accounts committee to answer questions from members of Parliament about the issues raised in the auditor general’s report. A hearing date has not been set.

“Yes, a need has been identified for more community residential spaces for women,” Lewis said, but she directed any questions about possible expansion efforts back to Ellen Osler Home itself.

CSC did not provide details of any expansion goals, policy or procedure before deadline.

“There’s a desire for more beds, because it works,” van der Meijden said of the successful program at Ellen Osler Home. “It lowers the percentage of people who reoffend.

“There’s increased demand. There’s always demand. We’re always full.”