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Ana McGregor named Dufferin’s new Director of Community Services

July 13, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Jasen Obermeyer

Anna McGregor was recently named Dufferin County’s new Director of Community Services, and is looking to continue to reduce poverty by not only ending the stigma, but by bringing modern social service delivery.

She takes over the position from Keith Palmer, who left in April to become the Director of Social Assistance for Ontario’s Ministry of Community and Social Services.

Ms. McGregor has been with the county since 2010, serving as the Social Housing and Ontario Works Program Manager. “It seemed like a natural progression.”

In an interview with the Citizen, Ms. McGregor said modernizing social services in all three areas of community services and continue working with the county’s poverty reduction task force are among the important tasks at hand.

“It’s not necessarily going out and looking for new stuff, we’re looking at what we’re currently doing that could be done better,” she explained. “We’re looking to see how we can modernize social services, while continuing to work with a lot of our community partners and local agencies.”

In 2017, Dufferin County spent in the region of $4.7 million on social assistance benefits alone, while one in 10 (approximately 6,000) people in Dufferin live in poverty. Earlier this year, the county held a poverty reduction summit where various human service providers, community members, along with several county councillors, as well as municipal, and provincial politicians discussed ways to tackle poverty in the county.

“We’ve recognized that we do have a lack of housing, and we are looking at how we can deal better with the housing and homelessness issues here in Dufferin,” Ms. McGregor noted.

Poverty in Ontario costs approximately $32- to 38-billion yearly, while Canada as a whole it is between $72- and 84-billion per year. Poverty costs anywhere from $2,300 to $2,900 per Ontario household every year.

Ms. McGregor said they have recently done a survey of homelessness in the  county and are working on the report to let the community know what they have found. “We are also looking at poverty overall.”

She said it is important to continue breaking the stigma around what poverty looks like.

“We’re trying to find out exactly what is the story behind the person and behind the numbers, because just going out and doing a count or just seeing that you’ve identified a percentage of people, isn’t actually telling you anything,” she described. “We need to gather information around those people and what got them there, and what are things we can do to get them out of that.”

She added that by working towards coordinated access with local shelters and organizations, “we’ll have a far better picture” to keep track of those who are homeless.

         

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