SDG approves additional money for non-profits

CORNWALL – SDG Counties council approved an additional $178,979 from working reserves to fund two non-profit organizations in the region.

The United Way of SDG’s Last Resort Fund, and the Social Development Council of Cornwall and Area each presented delegations late last year as the Counties prepared for its 2024 budget.

The Last Resort Fund helps families and individuals with one-time payments to avoid losing their home or becoming homeless. It was started with money during the pandemic provided by the Ontario government. That funding source ended. The United Way sought at least $130,000 from the Counties.

The SDC sought $66,979 from SDG Counties at budget. This is to help replace a net $60,000 loss of provincial money that the City of Cornwall provided. SDC is not a service provider, but works with existing non-profit groups to address gaps, works in advocacy and project coordination with community partners. Both groups have been addressing increased poverty and homelessness issues in the region, exacerbated by the higher cost of living and shortage in housing units.

Councillor Andrew Guindon (South Stormont) cited sections from the Municipal Act saying it is appropriate to provide funding for these issues and it was in line with the Counties’ strategic plan.

Many councillors spoke in support of the funding, but also said that the province needs to provide more money to directly address these issues.

Councillor Lachlan McDonald (South Glengarry) spoke against additional funding as SDG has had to borrow money this year for infrastructure projects.

Councillor Steve Densham (North Stormont) warned that while he supported the funding this year, it set a “dangerous precedent” in what the Counties funded.

SDG Counties already approved $18,000 during its draft budget for the United Way program, deferring the remaining amount until the February 20 meeting. CAO Maureen Adams told the Council that the City of Cornwall already approved approximately $200,000 in funding to cover their share. Cornwall also approved $66,979 for the SDC. SDG Counties council approved two motions, one for the United Way, the other for SDC, to fund the remaining amounts of their budget ask from working reserves. McDonald was the lone dissenting vote.

Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Morrisburg Leader