Niagara Region is investing more money into their homeless shelters.

They’re chipping in about $250,000 which brings their total contribution up to about $2.8 million.

Director of Homelessness Services Cathy Cousins says the money will be put to good use.

“We’re seeing an increase in the length of stay in shelters which creates a bottleneck. So in order to support people we need more beds.”

About 200 people take advantage of Niagara’s 10 homeless shelters each night. But that number changes if you include children and the families they place in hotel rooms.

Cousins says people have been using the shelters a lot lately not only because of the cold weather, but also the vacancy rate.

“It’s difficult to exit the shelter to an apartment when you have a vacancy rate like we do. People are having to stay longer while they try to unit a unit at all, nevermind an affordable unit.”

Cousins is trying to encourage people to build rental units in the Region, in hopes of improving the vacancy rate.

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