Kawartha Lakes/Haliburton more than double homelessness housing goal

By Roderick Benns

The City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton County Council made a commitment as part of the 20,000 Homes Campaign to house 24 of the most vulnerable homeless in our area by July 1, 2018.

To date, 52 individuals (of the 136 individuals identified as homeless) have been housed in the community and are no longer experiencing homelessness.

“We are very proud to have exceeded our homelessness housing goal in the City and County of Haliburton,” said Hope Lee, manager of housing services.

“We remain dedicated to helping our most vulnerable citizens and continue to work towards exceeding our goals.”

There have been numerous successes in the community response to homelessness, in part due to the increased capacity and collaboration between community agencies. Since the implementation of this campaign, there have been many positive impacts including the decreased reliance on emergency services by the homeless population.

The City has partnered with Trent University to survey and study its homelessness work which is showing the following positive results:

  • Within three months, hospital usage dropped between 50-86 per cent.
  • There has also been a decrease in the number of contact with crisis lines, 911 and ambulance transport to the hospital
  • 911 calls decreased from 37.5 per cent to 14.3 per cent.
  • There has been a 50 per cent reduction in the number of individuals transported to hospital by ambulance

As part of the province’s efforts to end chronic homelessness by 2025, an amendment was made to the Housing Services act requiring all service managers to prepare an inventory of those experiencing homelessness every other year starting in 2018 during the months of March, April and May.

A registry week method will be used again throughout the City and County of Haliburton area. The 2018 registry week survey will take place during the week of May 28, 2018. Following the registry week, individuals will be added to the ‘by name list’ and prioritized for housing and support services.

The 20,000 Homes Campaign is a national movement focused on ending chronic homelessness in 20 communities and housing 20,000 of Canada’s most vulnerable homeless people by July 1, 2020. Homelessness is defined as being either completely unsheltered, living in emergency shelter, or provisionally accommodated without permanent tenancy.

There continues to be no cost to the City to participate in this campaign and we will continue to receive assistance from the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness.

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