To bring together all sectors of our community to work with people who are experiencing homelessness so that together we can prevent homelessness, support recovery and wellbeing, find suitable housing, and measure our success in ways that impact and transform our community and sustain change through collective action and hope.
Most plans to end homelessness identify prevention as an essential element.
End Homelessness Winnipeg will bring two approaches forward for homelessness prevention: “systems” prevention and “individual level” prevention.
There may be critical points in a person’s life where they may be particularly vulnerable to becoming homeless – this is usually at a significant point of transition such as a discharge from hospital or treatment facilities, aging out of the child welfare system, or a release from prison.
The first goal to avoiding homelessness will include preventing discharges/releases by institutions or other service systems to emergency shelters or provisional accommodation by creating pathways to permanent housing.
The second goal is to intervene to prevent people who are provisionally accommodated from becoming homeless.
Strategies planned to achieve these goals include:
- creating short-term navigational supports which will be integrated with homelessness system of care and diversion mechanisms to prevent avoidable eviction.
- facilitating access to a full range of housing options for people at risk of homelessness, focusing on those individuals being discharged from hospital, released from prison, or aging out of the child welfare system.
- creating a one stop resource targeted to the needs of people at risk of homelessness
- working with landlords, property managers, and case managers/social workers/navigators to develop mechanisms to identify high-risk eviction situations and to prevent evictions where at all times possible
Housing with Supports
For individuals with mental illness, long-term substance abuse, brain injury, PTSD, developmental disorders such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, it can be very difficult to end homelessness, even with the supports currently in place.
End Homelessness Winnipeg recognizes the need to create programs focused specifically on ending homelessness with intensive “Housing with Supports” programs.
This new system must be person-centered. Person-centered is a commitment to not only the needs, but also the wishes and aspirations of a homeless person. We will move away from “Should we accept this person into our program?” to “What assistance is best for this person to quickly and permanently end their homelessness?”
A person experiencing homelessness can reach a point where they no longer acknowledge a desire for change, if attempting change means more failure. Most of us are motivated partly out of fear of losing what we have. Many people suffering from chronic homelessness simply have nothing left to lose. For these individuals, an active outreach and facilitated intervention and access to a system of care that accepts them on their own terms is critical to the recovery process.
End Homelessness Winnipeg’s goals are to:
- establish a comprehensive, culturally proficient, person-centered system of care for the homeless with a range of permanent options
- ensure emergency accommodation is available when needed, providing support to help people move to permanent housing as quickly as possible
Strategies to move these goals forward include:
- creating a centralized mechanism to Housing with Supports programs to end homelessness, including supports to help individuals navigate the system
- establishing a central registry of housing accessible to homeless people
- determining the range of services required to end homelessness and develop and/or evolve programs where there are systems gaps
- Mobilization of community members and volunteers in order to support successful inclusion and integration of people who were previously homeless back into the community
Access to safe, adequate, and affordable housing is a scarcity in our community which leads to and perpetuates homelessness, especially for those who do not have options or supports in place. Access and supply of affordable housing is a central ingredient to the success of any plan and critical to the efforts to prevent and end homelessness.
There has to be an adequate supply of housing options from transitional housing to private market rental or ownership. Creating a diverse range of housing types will better allow people of various needs and abilities to access appropriate housing during different transition points in their life.
End Homelessness Winnipeg’s goals are to:
- Increase the number of affordable housing units available to people who are homeless, in the private, non-profit and public sectors
- Maintain and improve existing accommodations accessible to people who might otherwise be homeless to live safely, securely and with dignity. This includes private market rental rooming houses and single room occupancy hotels
Our strategies to achieve these goals include:
- developing an inventory of housing and other accommodations by type with estimates of demand by type, to better project number of new housing units necessary to end homelessness
- creating a plan to increase housing with supports for homeless people
- collaborating and forming partnerships with all sectors, levels of government and the community at large
Collectively we don’t know much about homelessness in Winnipeg. Service providers know the circumstances of the people they work with in great detail and have a general sense of what others are doing, but that knowledge does not get translated into overall planning and continuous improvement.
The need for comprehensive information about homeless people is essential. Successful plans to end homelessness attribute much of their success to reporting and maintaining a constant presence in the community. Achievements in terms that are clear and based on solid information and analysis are inspiring and build trust and confidence in that the small successes will lead to larger ones.
End Homelessness Winnipeg recognizes that there is a need for two separate, yet complementary data systems: one to record and track the progress of every homeless person engaged with a service provider on their path to ending their homelessness, and one to regularly count the number of homeless people everywhere in Winnipeg at a particular point in time, sometimes referred to as a homeless count, but envisaged more by End Homelessness Winnipeg as a census of homeless people.
End Homeless Winnipeg’s goals are:
- to develop a comprehensive profile of the homeless population with data system(s) to support evaluation, monitoring, and continuous improvement in a homeless system of care
- to undertake research in order to better understand the particular experiences, needs and demographic characteristics of those experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Winnipeg
Strategies planned to assist with these goals:
- designing and implementing an annual homelessness count/census
- working with the provincial and federal governments to enhance the Homeless Individuals and Families Information System (“HIFIS”)
- creating a comprehensive client-specific data system to continually monitor homelessness, support service delivery and planning, and measure outcomes in support of an overall accountability framework
- undertaking research with a view to determining the distinctive paths of Indigenous peoples into homelessness including specific circumstances, needs, and mobility related to their communities and reserves. This will be done in partnership with Indigenous peoples and consistent with OCAP Principles (Ownership, Control, Access, and Partnership).