Queen's Park, February 25, 2018 - "I rise today to recognize the hundreds of walkers, volunteers and donors who participated in London’s Coldest Night of the Year, raising funds to support Mission Services of London.
The event came at a critical time for Mission Services, which earlier this month announced significant cuts as a result of the ever-increasing funding gap between provincial dollars and the needs of some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Over the years, this gap has been filled more and more by private donors, with some vital Mission Services programs funded as much as 60% by donations.
The gap forced Mission Services to make the difficult decision to reduce programming at Quintin Warner House, a live-in addiction treatment facility for men, and close 21 crash beds as of April 1. Last year, those 21 beds accommodated almost 7,700 stays by people whose mental health and addiction challenges prevented them from accessing traditional shelter beds.
Let’s consider the potential costs of closing the 21 crash beds if the people who use them end up in hospital every night instead. A single visit by ambulance to the emergency department, excluding the cost of the police and medical treatment, is approximately $1,100; $1,100 times $7,700 means an additional $8.4 million in hospital costs annually.
Speaker, this is a clear example of the negative consequences of short-term thinking and the failure of successive Liberal and Conservative governments to adequately support those struggling with mental health and addictions.