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Northern homelessness services facing deep cutbacks on federal funding

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Social services in the north are bracing for deep funding cuts to homelessness services and Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus is calling on the federal government to explain why it is scaling back at a time when the north is facing a social disaster.

Angus spoke in the House of Commons this week asking why the government is telling municipalities to get set for "dramatic cuts" to the ‘Reaching Home’ program while at the same time touting more investments for homelessness in this year’s budget.

One of the homeless shelters funded by the program is the Living Space in Timmins.

According to Angus, Cochrane District social services was told its funding is being cut by 52 per cent; Sault Ste. Marie is expecting a 60 per cent cut and both Sudbury and Nipissing are looking at a 70 per cent reduction.

"We need everybody calling on the federal government, calling on their employees to clarify what's going on. You're announcing money in the budget, but is that money actually going to come to northern Ontario or are you just going to continue the cuts," Angus said.

"Because the cuts have been laid out, they're drastic. They will be devastating and agencies are having to make choices now based on what they've been told to do."

The homelessness crisis needs more funding and municipalities need clarification, the MP added.

CTV News reached out to the Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board officials and while they confirmed the cutback, they were unavailable for comment.

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