Community Plan 2014-2019: Large Cities
The Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) is a community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness by providing direct support and funding to 61 designated communities across Canada, and by supporting them in the implementation of a Housing First (HF) approach to address chronic and episodic homelessness.
This portrait is a summary of the 2014-2019 HPS Community Plans submitted by eight large cities that are eligible for HPS funding under the Designated Communities stream: Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver. This summary provides aggregated data taken from their Community Plans.
Communities are inclusive and ready to address gaps
Communities held broad consultations to develop their HPS Community Plans involving various stakeholders and sectors involved in addressing homelessness issues. In large cities, Community Advisory Boards (CAB) include broad representation across sectors. However, in these communities, representation could be broadened by including landlord associations, people with lived experience of homelessness, the police/corrections sector, and those involved in the delivery of income supports. Consequently, most large cities indicated sectors where their CAB should include representation.
Communities are partnering
To demonstrate that they have mobilized partners to contribute to their homelessness efforts, communities must identify at least one dollar from other sources contributing towards to their homelessness efforts for every dollar of their annual funding allocation under the HPS Designated Communities funding stream. In their plans, communities have included funding from various partners such as: governments (Federal, Provincial/Territorial or Municipal/Regional); public institutions, such as hospitals, schools or universities; Aboriginal organizations; private sector organizations; and not-for-profit/charitable sector organizations, such as foundations. Community Entities (CE) are required to report annually on the actual amount received.
Figure 1 shows that the community contribution in large cities mainly comes from Provincial / Territorial governments, Cities / Municipalities, and foundations.
Communities are implementing Housing First from varying starting points
Through the community planning process, communities have identified priorities for local HPS investments. Although an HF target under the HPS has been set for large communities starting April 1, 2015 (second year), all eight large cities have chosen to allocate investments to HF in the first year (2014-2015), focusing on the chronically and episodically homeless populations. The Community Plans indicate that large cities will allocate on average about half of their HPS funding to projects on HF in the first year (2014-2015), with the percentage of HPS funding planned for HF projects ranging from 18% to 65%.
HF investments in the large cities will mostly focus on activities related to case management services (62%) and connection to permanent housing (28%). These cities will also invest a portion of their HF budget on activities related to HF readiness, intake and assessment, data, tracking and monitoring.
Figure 2 outlines the investments large cities expect to make in each priority from 2015 to 2019 (4 years). The large cities will allocate more than 65% of their HPS funding to projects on HF.
Figure 3 outlines the investments large cities expect to make in each priority from 2015 to 2019 (4 years). The large cities will allocate more than 65% of their HPS funding to projects on HF.
Communities are addressing the needs of homeless and at-risk population groups
The Community Plan includes priorities not related to HF. Large cities will focus on various activities to support homeless and at-risk population groups. The majority of the large cities identified the following activities for their priorities not dedicated toward HF: supports to improve social integration; housing loss prevention; and consultation, coordination, planning and assessment.
While HF targets chronic and episodic homelessness, communities have identified specific populations for non-HF activities. The main groups targeted by most large cities in their non-HF service priorities include Aboriginal people, families and children, and youth.
Large cities are also addressing the needs of key target populations through a non-HF priority on capital projects (i.e. building, renovating or purchasing facilities). Through this priority, large cities intend to implement capital projects to address the needs of the following groups: Aboriginal people, youth, people with a mental health issue, and people with addictions.
Conclusion and next steps
Through their community planning process, these large cities have demonstrated their readiness and interest to implement HF under the HPS. A mid-year dialogue with communities is underway to assess progress and determine what additional supports these communities may need to successfully implement HF and meet their target. At the end of each year, communities will report on project outcomes and submit an annual Community Plan update.
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