Residents of Parry Sound District, including people living in the Almaguin Highlands, can access a survey to help the District of Parry Sound Social Services Administration Board (DSSAB) create its first ever strategic plan.
The survey can be completed online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/SCVXSSY or by contacting J.J. Blower at firstname.lastname@example.org
Depending on how detailed responses are, the survey should take about 10 to 15 minutes.
Part of the survey asks residents what they think is the biggest housing issue in the district.
As a separate question on housing, the questionnaire asks participants to write down what measures they believe should be used to determine if a housing unit is affordable.
Another section centres on the lack of homeless shelters or emergency shelters for men.
The survey also asks the public to rank the social issues facing the region from most to least significant.
Included in this category are mental health, violence against women, poverty and addictions.
If applicable, the survey asks if it was difficult to access DSSAB services and if, eventually, the services met a person's needs.
The survey also asks statistical information, such as ancestry or ethnic background, occupational status and age, as well as the community a respondent lives in, including if it's a First Nation, gender, the nature of the household and current housing situation.
Anonymity is guaranteed and the public has until July 30 to complete the survey.
Housing Services Corp. (HSC) of Toronto is carrying out the five-year strategic plan and survey.
HSC is a non-profit group working to ensure Ontario residents have access to safe and affordable housing in order to improve their quality of life. The strategic plan could be ready for the DSSAB to adopt in September.
Tammy MacKenzie, chief administrative officer at the Parry Sound DSSAB, hopes the online survey gets a lot of responses.
In an earlier interview, MacKenzie said it's important for the public to be included in the consultation process since it's the people whom the DSSAB serves.
MacKenzie says the goal is to move in a direction supported by the service users and community at large.
And to ensure the consultation is as broad and inclusive as possible, HSC is contacting all the town halls and First Nations in the DSSAB's boundaries, in addition to local service partners.
Counted among the service partners are the Ontario Provincial Police, employment agencies, Indigenous groups, social services, health care and education providers.
The people in these groups will be involved in engagement sessions with HSC and focus groups.
HSC also will meet with all employees of the DSSAB, including MacKenzie, to hear their thoughts.
As HSC starts to compile all the information it gathers over the summer, a webinar will take place in September prior to the DSSAB seeing the final report.
MacKenzie says this will be a chance for the public to see what HSC has put together and offer any input before a final report is brought to the DSSAB.
Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget