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Tuesday May 28th, 2013

Posted at 12:00pm

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The Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association has partnered with the Homeless Coalition of Windsor Essex County and Family Services Windsor-Essex to conduct the Downtown Windsor Street Outreach Program once again this summer.

The program has been developed to respond to concerns from downtown business owners regarding the proliferation of individuals panhandling in the downtown core. Offered in 2011, the program was successful in gathering information on the reasons individuals are panhandling.

Staff from Family Services will participate in the project and act as outreach workers, conducting frequent patrols of the downtown core and regularly approaching individuals who are panhandling. The outreach workers will provide information, resources and food vouchers to encourage individuals to seek assistance, and will conduct a brief survey with individuals on the street to gather non-identifying basic data on individuals panhandling in the city centre, such as age, gender, reason for panhandling etc.

Business owners concerned about a person who is panhandling should call 519-966-5010. This hotline will be answered by staff at Family Services Windsor-Essex, a member agency of the Homeless Coalition. The business owner will be asked a few questions to determine the business location, and an outreach worker will be dispatched to meet with the person who is panhandling. The outreach worker will offer the individual who is panhandling a variety of services and supports.

The phone line will be answered from 9am to 8pm Monday to Thursday, and 9am to 5pm on Fridays.  An after-hours answering service is available.

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