A Home For All

Niagara's Housing and Homelessness Action Plan | Community Update

Visions and Goals

A Home for All is Niagara's 10-year Community Action Plan to help everyone in Niagara have a home.

Since 2013 the plan has enabled the coordination of responses to the community's housing and homeless needs. It provides a complete and comprehensive vision for:

  • Addressing homelessness through prevention
  • Emergency interventions
  • Services and supports
  • Social, public and market housing
  • System improvements

Activities within the plan support the achievement of the following four goals:

Home For All

Goal 1

House people who do not have a home

Goal 2

Help people find & retain a home

Goal 3

Increase opportunities & options across housing continuum

Goal 4

Build capacity & improve effectiveness of the housing system

Mission and Working Groups

Niagara Region and its community partners aspire to meet the diverse housing needs of individuals and families through leadership and collaboration, by building on existing Community assets and by empowering citizens.

To fulfill this mission the ‘A Home for All' Taskforce and five working groups were developed in 2015. Each working group addresses a key area of work and is chaired by a community leader with membership comprised of a cross-section of community partners.

The working groups continued to be supported by Regional staff throughout 2017, including staff from Community Services, Planning and Development Services, Public Health and Emergency Services, and Niagara Regional Housing.

The five key areas, their chairs, and 2017 accomplishments are listed below:

Elisabeth Zimmermann
Elisabeth Zimmermann, Executive Director, YWCA Niagara
Housing First: Housing First is a best practice program of rapid rehousing with supports for people experiencing chronic and episodic homelessness. In 2017 this group continued to promote fidelity to the At Home/Chez Soi model through on going development of protocols and the launch of an Intensive Case Manager Community of practice.
Mark Carl, Executive Director, The Hope Centre
Mark Carl, Executive Director, The Hope Centre
Service Hubs: Service Hubs provide the community with a physical or virtual destination that offers various services in one location. In 2017 this group researched best practice Hub models, supported local service mapping, and linked with Provincial Hub initiatives.
Michael Lethby, Executive Director, The RAFT
Michael Lethby, Executive Director, The RAFT
Prevention: Prevention reduces homelessness by keeping at-risk youth, singles and families housed, and preventing people from experiencing a first instance of homelessness. In 2017 Niagara saw the adoption and pilot of an Australian evidence-based early assessment tool to identify youth at risk of homelessness
Mike Taylor, Executive Director of Youth Resources Niagara
Mike Taylor, Executive Director of Youth Resources Niagara
No Wrong Door: A No Wrong Door approach to services means that no matter where a person enters the system, he or she can access any needed services. In 2017 this group completed the consultations with front line workers and reviewed barriers for transferring clients between service providers in homelessness and other systems.
Lori Beech, Executive Director of Bethlehem Housing
Lori Beech, Executive Director of Bethlehem Housing
Housing Affordability Innovation: Innovation can enable an increase in the supply of affordable and market rental housing to meet local demand. This group increased engagement and common understanding for new affordable housing development through the 2017 National Housing day event and supported the link between the Housing and Homelessness Action Plan and the Region’s new Policy Plan now in development.
Jeffrey Sinclair, Homelessness Action Plan Advisor, Niagara Region
A Home for All working groups are facilitated by: Jeffrey Sinclair, Homelessness Action Plan Advisor, Niagara Region 905-980-6000 ext. 3814, jeffrey.sinclair@niagararegion.ca

Housing and Homelessness Services by Numbers (2017)

CentreVacancy Rate [1]
Niagara1.5%The Niagara rental housing market has experienced a decline in the vacancy rate for the fourth consecutive year, dropping from 2.2% in 2016 to 1.5% in 2017 [1]

[1] Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC): Rental Market Reports (2017)
London1.8%
Waterloo1.9%
Windsor2.4%
Hamilton2.4%

2

Outreach agencies funded

5528

Issuances of the housing stability plan assistance

444

Households accessed supportive transitional housing

39.5

Average number of days in shelter per user

1641

Households utilized emergency hostel services

83

Households placed through the Housing First program

1997

Households were helped through homelessness prevention services

Over 5001

Households were on the affordable housing waitlist in 2017

33

Households received a forgivable loan to help buy their first home

56

Homeowners received assistance through Niagara Renovates

Over 200

Support and enrichment activities were provided to tenants

2660

Rent-Geared-to-Income units provided (public housing)

3732

Non-Profit and Co-operatives units provided

1186

Rent Supplement and Housing Allowance units provided

New Development Updates

AmountUnitesStatus
Gateway Residences of Niagara, Huron Street, Niagara Falls $720,000 9 Complete in 2016
Thorold Municipal Non-Profit, Ormond Street, Thorold $1,228,912 14 Complete in 2017
Niagara Regional Housing, Carlton Street, St. Catharines $11,081,817 85 30% complete
Stamford Kiwanis, Barker Street, Niagara Falls $1,089,088 17 60% complete
Home For Good, Welland and Port Colborne $3,093,161 28 Awarded in 2017
Total $17,212,978 153

Progress Towards Achieving the Mid-Term

The Plan includes 24 activities to be completed in the mid-term (years 4 to 6) of the plan. 2017 marked the first year of this mid-term work.

By December 2017, 65% progress had been achieved toward the completion of the mid-term activities with 10 activities completed and 11 underway.

Highlighted Accomplishments

  • Successful application for $5.5 million in Provincial "Home for Good" funding to add up to 68 new units of supportive housing with case management
  • Initiated comprehensive system mapping in partnership with Niagara Region Global Information Systems
  • Improved service capacity of community partners through training of:
    • 55 staff trained in Housing First Core Principles
    • 99 staff trained in Trauma Counselling
    • 25 staff trained in Intensive Case Management
  • NRH provided 549 housing allowances to ease financial burden for households on the Affordable Housing Waitlist
  • National Housing Day event supported collaboration between Indigenous and mainstream partners
  • Collected and shared resources to address Not in my Backyard opposition to affordable housing development
  • Community Service, Niagara Regional Housing and Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation collaborated on a National Housing Day event to bring together nearly 70 participants representing the private, non-profit, and public sectors to learn about and explore opportunities to collaborate on innovative housing solutions
  • Continue to use HHAP as an aligning tool for future housing initiatives, both regionally and in local area municipalities
  • Working with the Local Health Integration Network to improve service linkages with Regional services
  • Introduced a new data reporting tool (Homelessness Individuals and Families Information System) to Region-funded homelessness service providers

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