A Home for All is the vision of the Niagara Region's 10 year Housing and Homelessness Action Plan (HHAP). The HHAP was launched in 2013 as part of a province wide effort to address the very complex issue of housing and homelessness. The strategy outlined in this plan addresses the following four goals:
House people who do not have a home
Help people find & retain a home
Increase opportunities & options across housing continuum
Build capacity & improve effectiveness of the housing system
The 'A Home for All' Taskforce and five working groups were developed in 2015. Each working group addresses a key area of work, is led by a community leader/stakeholder, and membership is comprised of a cross section of service providers and other partners. The work has continued to be directed by community leaders and stakeholders and supported by the Regional staff throughout 2016, including staff from Community Services, Planning and Development Services, Public Health and Emergency Services, and Niagara Regional Housing (NRH).
In 2016 the work directly engaged 152 individuals representing more than 50 community partners, including individuals from 28 community agencies who actively participated in the â€˜A Home for Allâ€™ working groups. The five key areas, their chairs, and 2016 accomplishments are listed below:
Housing First is a best practice system of rapid rehousing for people experiencing chronic and episodic homelessness. In 2016, this working group developed a consistent approach to service delivery across Housing First providers by adopting the Housing First Fidelity Scale. They also increased shared understanding of best practices by drafting a set of Housing First Protocols based on best practices.
Prevention reduces homelessness by keeping at-risk youth, singles and families housed, and stopping people from experiencing a first instance of homelessness. Niagara's new Youth Homelessness strategy was introduced in 2016.
Innovation helps increase the supply of affordable housing. In 2016, this group researched local, national and global innovations in housing affordability. They also raised awareness and stimulated the submission of a multi-agency application for the new CMHC Affordable Rental Innovation Fund through the hosting of a National Housing Day Forum on the topic of affordable housing innovation.
The Hope Centre
Service Hubs provide the community with a destination, whether physical or virtual, that offers various services in one location. In 2016, this working group increased shared understanding of service hubs through the development of Housing and Homelessness Service Hub Principles.
Youth Resources Niagara
A "No Wrong Door" approach to service means that no matter where a person enters the system, he or she can access any services that are needed. In 2016, this working group increased communication between front line workers across Niagara and identified opportunities and challenges for implementing a No Wrong Door approach to service delivery by initiating a front-line worker consultation process.
The "A Home for All" working groups are facilitated by:
Households received emergency energy funds
Households assisted through homelessness outreach services
Households were helped through homelessness prevention services
Households used emergency hostel services
Households accessed supportive transitional housing
Issuances of the housing stability plan
Households accessed the Housing First program
Households were on the affordable housing waitlist
Households received a forgivable loan to help buy their first home
Homeowners received assistance through Niagara Renovates
Support and enrichment activities were provided to tenants
Rent-geared-to-income units provided
Non-profit and co-operatives units provided
Rent supplement and Housing allowance units provided
Niagara received more than $3 million in investment in Affordable Housing-Extension (IAH-E) funds, awarded to three non-profit organizations to create 40 affordable housing (80% of market rent) units for seniors and mental health consumers in Niagara Falls. Construction on one project was completed in 2016, with the remaining two to be completed in 2017.
The plan outlines 80 actions that address these goals. By the end of 2016 (year 3 of the 10 year plan), 25 actions had been completed, 30 actions were ongoing, and 25 actions remained to be completed.